By Mandi Bierly
Updated January 19, 2011 at 10:41 PM EST

Image Credit: Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords/AP ImagesLike everyone, I follow reports on the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords amazed at what she’s already able to do and mindful of the long road ahead of her. Her mother, Gloria, sent an email to family and friends on Tuesday updating her status as the congresswoman, still in serious condition after a bullet traveled the length of the left side of her brain on Jan. 8, prepares to be moved to a rehab facility (hopefully on Friday). News sources obtained the note, and now we know that she was able to untie her husband Mark Kelly’s tie and unbutton the top button of his shirt when he returned to her side after speaking at her aide’s memorial service, and that she’s scrolled through the photos on his iPod and begun to read cards made for her by concerned 4th graders. We also know that her husband has gotten large-print pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in the J.K. Rowling series, “for her to hold and read.” In a CNN story filled with reasons to tear up, for me, that was one of them.

I don’t know if Rep. Giffords is a Harry Potter fan re-reading the book, or someone who’s always wanted to read the series, or someone who’s only reading it now because it comes in large-print and an occupational therapist recommended it, but I love that it’s what she’s holding in her hand. On the surface, it appears like a light-hearted escape, one filled with magic and wonder that you hope someone who’s been through the very real trauma she’s experiencing could still believe in and enjoy. But it’s also a serious story about a boy whose parents were taken from him by a man who’s as evil as Harry is good. The series doesn’t sugarcoat what Harry faces to protect what he believes in. It’s about him standing up for himself and those he fights for, and overcoming the obstacles (and man) who would stop him.

Happy reading, Rep. Giffords. If this is your first trip to Hogwarts, here’s a spoiler: Harry’s a Gryffindor. So are you.