Junie B. Jones and SpongeBob SquarePants are popular with students, but nothing gets them as excited as Harry Potter, says Eda Henries, a third-grade teacher who works for Teach for America. "If you get a whole group of kids together who read Harry Potter, it becomes a little club, and they want to dress, talk and act just like the characters in the book," she says.
Some would also like to eat like the characters -- although not everything served at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry appeals to certain young tastes.
"The meals look great," says Alex Gerig, a 9-year-old reader from Alexandria, but he adds: "I probably wouldn't want to eat Bertie Bott's Beans flavors like grass, soap or earwax. Those are pretty gross."
Children and adults alike are anticipating the imminent arrival of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the sixth book in J.K. Rowling's popular series. Since the publication of the first book in 1997, more than 200 million copies of all the Harry Potter volumes have been sold. Come midnight on July 16, readers will be lined up to collect the long-awaited installment -- and many will not sleep until they've finished it. Such a literary feast begs a culinary celebration.
The routines of Hogwarts School have become commonplace in conversations from playgrounds to water coolers. Readers vicariously enjoy the welcoming feast for students returning to Hogwarts, and the tantalizing tastes of Honeydukes Sweetshop and the Leaky Cauldron. Harry Potter's lifestyle has become part or ours.
Though moviegoers have become familiar with the sights and sounds of Diagon Alley, the Weasley home and the Dursleys' Privet Lane, the scents and tastes of the series are still up to the imagination.
But you don't need floo powder to get a taste of Harry's world. The dishes that follow -- one adapted from a television show, one adapted from a Web site and one newly created for Harry lovers -- are hereby offered to herald the arrival of the sixth book.
Potter fans will recognize pumpkin pasties and butterbeer as adaptations of Harry's favorite snacks. The Disappearing Pretzel Wands, however, are just fun, child-friendly pleasures in the spirit of the book.
While cockroach clusters and fizzing whizzbees are not among the offerings, more daring readers are welcome to create their own. Just don't send me any howlers if they are less than enchanting.
Erin Hartigan is the food and dining producer for washingtonpost.com. You can share your Hogwarts School recipes with her at email@example.com