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Harry Potter and the coronavirus crisis: J.K. Rowling launches a new activity website for kids

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling launched a new initiative Wednesday aimed at abating coronavirus fears.
(Sony Computer Entertainment)

Family stressed about the coronavirus crisis? Harry Potter is here to save the day.

Wizarding World mastermind J.K. Rowling has unveiled a new website, Harry Potter at Home, in an effort to provide a mystical escape from current events in the muggle world.

“Parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while we’re on lockdown might need a bit of magic,” the author tweeted on Wednesday, saying she was delighted to launch Harry Potter at Home.

“We’re casting a Banishing Charm on boredom!,” the site writes on its welcome page.

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In cooperation with publishers Bloomsbury and Scholastic, the digital hub houses a free collection of “child-friendly activities, videos, puzzles, illustrations, quizzes, creative ideas, articles and much more, that will help you bring the magic of the wizarding world into your home at this difficult time,” according to the Wizarding World team.

Additionally, Rowling has partnered with the OverDrive online library system, allowing members complimentary access to an e-book version of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in more than 20 languages through the end of April.

Plus, fans can now listen to the first book in the fantasy series on Audible for free in six different languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese) as part of the Harry Potter at Home project.

Daisy Ridley, Auli’i Cravalho and more Disney stars are among the latest celebrities reading children’s books on social media to entertain quarantined families.

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This is not the first time Rowling has offered her services amid the pandemic. Last month, after the outbreak closed schools worldwide, Rowling granted an open license for teachers to share videos of themselves “onto schools’ secure networks or closed educational platforms” reading the Harry Potter books aloud for their students.

The fiction writer has also been tweeting messages of love and support to her followers in self-quarantine, as well as to everyday heroes on the front lines of the global emergency.

“Thinking tonight of medical staff, supermarket workers, the military and all public service employees putting themselves on the line for our communities,” she wrote on Saturday. “We can only aspire to deserve you. Stay safe, everyone.”


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