For the love of reading

J.K. Rowling attends HBO’s ”Finding The Way Home” World Premiere at Hudson Yards on December 11, 2019 in New York City.

 

Earlier this month, beloved author J.K. Rowling tweeted that she had recovered from a probable case of COVID-19 and was feeling much better.

That gave Harry Potter fans the world over another thing to be grateful for, in addition to resources for readers that Rowling made available in the last couple of weeks.

Chief among them was the debut of Harry Potter at Home, a website designed for kids during isolation from the coronavirus. It offers news, craft videos, quizzes and much more for all those kids who wish they had gotten that invitation to Hogwarts.

Through the end of April, the first book in the mega-bestselling series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is available as a free e-book through Overdrive for library card holders. The Sorcerer’s Stone audiobook is free, in several languages, at Audible.com’s Audible Stories, which has many other free titles for kids and adults.

LeVar Burton read to several generations of kids on PBS’s Reading Rainbow, and recently he’s been lending his voice to short fiction for adults on his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads. Now, during the pandemic, the Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation star is live-streaming on Twitter (@levarburton) three times a week, reading kids’ books on Mondays at noon, YA books on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and adult literature on Fridays at 9 p.m.

Burton told People magazine that his podcast company recommended he read public domain books rather than wait to get legal permissions. Then Neil Gaiman (American Gods) stepped up, tweeting, “LeVar, you can use any of my stories that you want,” which, Burton said “opened the floodgates” to permission from many current authors.

Kids (and grownups) looking for comfort in these times could hardly hope for better than a bedtime story from Dolly Parton. For the next eight weeks, you can find her in her jammies, reading children’s books on Facebook at 7 p.m. each Thursday on Good Night With Dolly.

Parton is a longtime superhero of literacy for kids; her Imagination Library has given away more than 130 million children’s books. She kicked off the streaming series with a book that she said means a lot to her: The Little Engine That Could.

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