On April 1, J.K. Rowling — the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter series — announced that she has created a new Harry Potter website, according to the Associated Press. Harry Potter At Home was made to bring comfort to fans of all ages who are sheltering in place during the novel coronavirus outbreak. The website features activities ranging from games to quizzes that will entertain everyone and will test first-time readers. Classic quizzes that began on the Wizarding World virtual experience — like the house sorting quiz — have also been added to the site.
Parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while we’re on lockdown might need a bit of magic, so I’m delighted to launch https://t.co/cPg0dZpexB pic.twitter.com/i0ZjTplVoU
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) April 1, 2020
“The teachers, parents and carers working to keep children’s lives as normal and happy as possible while we’re all on lockdown deserve a bit of magic,” Rowling said in a statement on Wednesday. “I hope these initiatives will give children and even adults a happy distraction during their enforced stay-at-home time.”
The author also partnered with her U.S. and U.K. publishers, Scholastic and Bloomsbury, to contribute content and articles to the website. The content the publishers produce will also be promoted on their own websites, too. One of the earliest articles written by Scholastic focuses on how to teach children to enjoy reading.
Rowling also struck a deal with Audible and OverDrive. Audible is an audio publisher and distributor for audiobooks, while OverDrive is an e-book supplier and virtual library. The partnership between the three will allow people to have free access to both audio and digital editions of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Audible version of the book is available in six languages — English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Japanese. OverDrive’s version is available in 20 different languages. The free access will be available throughout the month of April.
According to the statement made on Wizarding World, Rowling is working to help teachers with her digital development, too. The author has granted an open license to educators, giving them the ability to read all seven Harry Potter books to their students through “virtual read-a-long sessions on video.” Some teachers had started reading the books with their students before the outbreak forced schools to close. Those teachers are now sharing the platform and using it to connect to the classroom again.
Before we left school, I had a lot of students reading Harry Potter, so I was super excited to share Harry Potter at Home with them (thanks Mom for sending it to me!). Check it out if you love the books too! https://t.co/1VZoEF23ub
— Ms. Majestic (@Miss_Majestic_) April 1, 2020
Harry Potter at home launches today! I’ll be reading to my students on Schoology and giving out some fun facts! In these dark times, Hogwarts is always there to welcome you home. #slytherin #harrypotterathome… https://t.co/4hWgOOSEOy
— BlackCowboy (@blackcowboy513) April 1, 2020
While the website is in early stages — currently it’s only populated with a few articles, quizzes, and games — fans have been assured more is to come. The digital team behind the virtual portal to Hogwarts explained that — like magic — the website will change often, so fans should check back daily to see what is new.