A Hogwarts staple, The Standard Book of Spells followed a student of magic around from their very first year at Hogwarts and we definitely wouldn’t want to be left out. Hermione, of course, was an avid reader of this particular set-text, judging by the 112% she received in her first year Charms exam. The various grades clearly prepared Hermione well for life beyond Hogwarts – by the time she was on the run with Harry and Ron in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she had some seriously superior spell work going on with those protective charms.
This Hogwarts set-text would provide you with historical context for the wizarding world – although Harry also used it to find his owl, Hedwig, her name. Harry and Ron might have struggled to stay awake through History of Magic classes with Professor Binns, but we can’t help thinking they were a bit ungrateful, given they got to learn about the Werewolf Code of Conduct and goblin rebellions. Plus, Professor Binns didn’t seem quite so boring when he told the class all about the Chamber of Secrets. Muggle history is filled with all kinds of interesting facts, but we reckon wizarding history is even more exciting.
A book that resides in almost every wizarding household and an approved textbook at Hogwarts ever since its publication, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is high on our list of top reads – and this is one Muggles really can read! The result of Newt’s many years of travel and research, this book serves as an authoritative compendium of magical creatures. The A-Z includes all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures, from fiery phoenixes to foul-smelling Bundimuns. Here are some of the weirdest. You can find out more about the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book here.
We have to admit, Transfiguration would be one of the classes we’d be looking forward to the most if we received our Hogwarts letter. And we’re in good company, Hermione said the very same thing to Percy just after she’d been sorted into Gryffindor – ‘I’m particularly interested in Transfiguration, you know, turning something into something else, of course, it’s supposed to be very difficult’. She wasn’t wrong! Once they got to Professor McGonagall’s class she warned them, ‘Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts’. We’d be dying to get started reading this beginners’ guide, and it sounds like we’d need it!
‘You’ve never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?’ Ron asked Hermione incredulously in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This just about sums up why the tales are so special in the wizarding world, and why we’re so happy Muggles can get their hands on these stories too. For centuries, the fables have been the staple of wizarding childhoods, the sound of bedtime stories. To children who grew up in wizarding families, ‘the Hopping Pot and the Fountain of Fair Fortune are as familiar’ to them ‘as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are to Muggle (non-magical) children’. And of course, ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ came in very handy to Ron, Hermione and Harry in Deathly Hallows, just as Dumbledore had envisaged it would. If you want to find out more about the Tales of Beedle the Bard, here’s an article all about them.
Of course we’d be lucky to get a request for Moste Potente Potions past the librarian, Madam Pince, but where there’s a Lockhart, there’s a way. This potions book belonged in the Restricted Section of the library at Hogwarts, and when Hermione checked it out in her second year, she realised just why: ‘Some of the potions had effects almost too gruesome to think about, and there were some very unpleasant illustrations’. Why then, you may ask, would we want this book on our shelves? Polyjuice Potion, of course! Wouldn’t you want to try out transforming into someone else, just for an hour or so?
Given the unfortunate fact that some witches and wizards more than dabbled in the Dark arts, we think we would definitely want to check this book out of the library. This book was on the list of set-texts for students starting Hogwarts, so Albus Dumbledore must have agreed. Hermione might have advocated a practical approach to Defence Against the Dark Arts in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but we’re sure she’d agree that a book is always a great place to start learning, particularly when you don’t have The Boy Who Lived to give you pointers.
A favourite of Harry’s, this book is another one you don’t have to daydream about – it’s available to Muggles! Quidditch Through the Ages is a love letter to the wizarding world’s favourite sport, with trivia (like the longest ever Quidditch match), tales of on-pitch antics (you’ll be scandalised!), team profiles and Quidditch moves, from the Bludger Backbeat to the Wronski Feint. Find out more about a new illustrated edition here.