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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

How the magic we see as kids shapes the world we see as adults

I am a lover of stories. From books, to movies, to shows, to oral stories we pass onto each other. I am fascinated with how our ideas can come to life on a piece of paper or a television screen through the act of storytelling. I believe that all stories have something to offer those who hear them, but I think there is something particularly important about magical stories. 

Fairies, ghosts, goblins, wizards, dragons, witches, I’m sure you’re familiar with the fantasy genre. Children’s stories like Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan and Harry Potter (just to name a few). These stories, while they vary in plot, characters and media, have one thing in common: They show us a completely different, new world. The creators of these stories have managed to curate a new reality, completely void of any realism or logic. In these worlds, anything can happen. 

Anything can happen. That is precisely why hearing and reading stories of magic is important for kids. Fantasy opens up one’s imagination like nothing else. There are very few things that have no limitations. But in fantasy worlds, there are no rules and nothing is impossible. This creative freedom evokes unlimited imagination. Children are forced to come up with creative solutions for their crazy, unrealistic problems. It allows them to imagine a new world and creatively problem-solve. It also lets children imagine who they can grow up to be. 

When we go out in the real world, we are often put in boxes. What we should do, what we should like, who we should be. They are mapped out for us. But reading magical stories can remind us that there are always new possibilities. Fantasy reminds us that there is no box we have to fit or path to follow. I think this is so important for kids to know as they grow up. They should know that they can be anyone they want and their dreams are attainable. Our spirit is often squished as we get older, but if fantasy can implement that idea into the minds of kids, maybe they will keep their spirit longer. 

When I was a kid, I would sit in bed and pretend to be asleep with the dire hope that Peter Pan would come into my room. I would wave my hairbrush yelling “Expecto patronum” and patiently wait for a patronus to be standing in front of me. Clearly, these expectations were void of any realism or logic, but that didn’t matter. I was imagining a world in which these things could happen. I was under the impression that things could happen just because I believed they could. I think the world would be a better place, and we would be better people, if we all remembered how it felt to be a little kid believing that anything was possible. 

Mckenna Laurent

Wisconsin '25

Mckenna is a Junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is studying English literature. Along with being a section editor for Her Campus, she is a Senior Coordinator for the University Tutoring Service. Mckenna loves reading, baking, and watching New Girl!