Author J.K. Rowling wants to help teachers keep their students entertained during the COVID-19 quarantines. So she’s decided to temporarily relax the licenses on her Harry Potter books to make virtual story time a little more magical.
Rowling made the announcement on Twitter, writing, “Delighted to help teachers reach kids at home by relaxing the usual licence required to post videos of themselves reading Harry Potter books … Be well, everyone.”
Delighted to help teachers reach kids at home by relaxing the usual licence required to post videos of themselves reading Harry Potter books. Go to https://t.co/77d90pkiYK to find the guidelines. Be well, everyone. More soon! 💫#HarryPotterAtHome— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 20, 2020
On her website, Rowling laid out the details: “Teachers anywhere in the world are permitted to post videos of themselves reading from Harry Potter books 1-7 onto schools’ secure networks or closed educational platforms from today until the end of the school year (or the end of July in southern hemisphere).”
The author also teased some more upcoming news: “The open licence for teachers is the first of several initiatives being planned to help bring Harry Potter to children at home, which will be announced shortly—watch this space for more details!”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, several publishers have relaxed regulations on “read-alouds” so that teachers and librarians can keep kids entertained. On her website, children’s book author Kate Messner highlighted some of these presses, including Chronicle Books, Scholastic, Bloomsbury Kids and Candlewick.
Other companies have also stepped up to offer ways to help bored kids get access to literature. Last week, audiobook producer Audible unveiled an initiative that provides free audiobooks for young people stuck at home during the COVID-19 quarantines.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.