Neil Patrick Harris On His New Book and Raising His Kids to Embrace Differences
'What makes us powerful is what is unique about us,' Neil Patrick Harris says when discussing his new kids' book
“I love magic. More of the card trick/illusionist on a stage magic, as opposed to sorcery/wizards/dragons magic,” he says. “I thought it would be fun to create this world of kids [who] feel out of place, and then come together with their love of magic and actually help save the town.”
The actor, 44, was inspired to write the book, the first in a planned series of four, because he loves reading to his children, 7-year-old twins Harper and Gideon, whom he shares with husband David Burtka.
“My kids didn’t have any input in the books [because] right now they’re just learning to read,” he explains, but says he’s excited for them to read the books one day.
“[This] book teaches about magic tricks, about the ideas behind magic, but also about inclusion, about being powerful within yourself, embracing your differences,” he says. “I think everyone feels (especially at that age) like they’re a misfit so I wanted to really be able to honor the differences that people have.”
He adds, “I really deeply [believe] that what makes us powerful is what is unique about us.”
Harris reveals that he works hard to raise his children so they, too, can embrace people’s differences.
“We live up in Harlem, New York so we intentionally want our kids to bear witness and see all different types of people existing in all different types of ways,” he says. “We love to go to fancy restaurants, we love to take the subway… If you can go and meet and experience all kinds of other people doing all kinds of different things.. your mind will expand in ways you can’t even imagine. Travel and meet and explore and never think you’re too old to learn.”
Harris shares these lessons in The Magic Misfits, out just in time for the holidays. Beyond celebrating its publication, he also tells Shelf Life about the family traditions he’s looking forward to the most.
“We like to get dressed up on Christmas Eve night and go and eat an amazing meal,” he says, and explains that they normally go to Babbo, the Mario Batali restaurant where his husband used to work as a chef.
“We walk around and talk about the stuff we’re thankful for,” he adds, “hoping that Santa brings no coal.”