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J.K. Rowling Asking Kids To Illustrate Her New Book Is A Welcome Quarantine Distraction

Over the last three days, the world famous author has posted and responded to more than 250 drawings as part of a competition for her new book.


While the news cycle for the past week has been characteristically 2020, something uplifting has been happening online. J.K. Rowling, author of the world-famous Harry Potter series and one of the most influential authors of the 21st Century, has spent the last three days promoting children’s artwork to her 14 million followers.

The illustrations, made by children aged 7-12, are part of a contest for her newly released children’s story, “The Ickabog.” Her first fantasy work since she closed the cover on the Potter franchise 13 years ago, “The Ickabog” is Rowling at her best, capturing the imagination with fantastic new worlds.

“It isn’t Harry Potter and it doesn’t include magic. This is an entirely different story,” Rowling said.

The story, which was originally written for her own children, is being sequentially published online and available for free, “so children on lockdown, or even those back at school during these strange, unsettling times, can read it or have it read to them,” Rowling said. It will be released as a whole in November, with all profits being donated to areas hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic.

The online art show began with a competition from Rowling. The author invited children in lockdown to post their illustrations to the new story, with the winners to be printed in the book itself when it is released later this year. Soon, though, it was clear that Rowling’s involvement did not end there. As of writing, the world-famous author posted and personally responded personally to over 250 of the illustrations, with more coming every hour.



The news surely came as a pleasant surprise to parents. With parks, schools, and childcare facilities shuttered, many are worried about making up for lost educational opportunities, or even just running out of occupying activities. Even with recent easing of restrictions gradually taking place across the US, over a billion learners remain affected by educational closures.

Some research indicates that extended separation from peers and in-person education can cause negative mental health outcomes from prolonged stress and boredom. In such a situation, any and all help to inspire children stuck inside matters. Rowling states that most important to her is seeing her young audience’s imaginations run wild in spite of the ongoing lockdowns, with “creativity, inventiveness, and effort” mattering most.

You can check out the posts here, and J.K. Rowling’s new children’s story here.