I was a little reluctant to pick this book up at first. It was a "children's" book that was wildly popular, and I was having visions of Pokemon, Power Rangers and countless other "wildly popular" children's fads.
Then came a new wrinkle. People began to protest the content of the book, and that convinced me to buy this book just to see what the big deal was. I would like to offer those who protested the books a sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart. Without them, I probably never would have discovered the world of a student wizard named Harry Potter.
It's been a very long time since I've been as excited about a series of books as I am about these "children's" books. I know a lot of naysayers will scoff, just like I did at first, but these are quite simply wonderful books. Rowling is able to do something with these books that far too many "adult" writers can't do. She was able to keep me on the edge of my seat and keep me turning page after page. She builds sympathy and a reader connection with Harry Potter in the first chapter and it only gets deeper through the book and the next two that follow.
You will, however, need one thing to enjoy these books - a childlike sense of wonder. I've always prided myself on being able to tap into that, but if you're stern and serious, you likely won't enjoy this series. Hence, we have people protesting it instead of being happy that their children are reading.
About the protests, all I can say is it's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I didn't find a great deal of violence, and the violence that did occur was mostly "off-screen." As far as the "serious tone of disrespect" goes, the only disrespect I saw was the Dursley's disrespect of Harry. I have a theory about these protesters - I think they saw a little too much of themselves in the Dursleys, and they didn't like what they saw.