We Appreciate You: A Birthday Tribute to J.K. Rowling

July 31: Any Harry Potter fan worth their salt knows what day it is. After all, even Dudley Dursley memorized the date. Not only is it the birthday of the Boy Who Lived, but it’s also the day we celebrate the birth of our favorite author, J.K. Rowling. To counteract the spread of discontent across the Internet regarding this extraordinary author, philanthropist, and mother, let’s explore the amazing gifts she has given us over the years.

 

J.K. Rowling helped build a community.

MuggleNet is one of many communities that celebrate Harry Potter across the world. People are continuously cultivating friendships that sprang from their love of Potter. The fandom’s ardent love for Potter may be expressed through podcasts, films, YouTube channels, websites, classes, or conventions. The need to discuss, theorize, and passionately defend favorite characters and plot points joins millions of diverse enthusiasts who find friendship and human interaction through an incredible book series. MuggleNet has given me the unbelievable opportunity to befriend people whom I probably never would have met otherwise. Potter has been the talking point that has given many introverts (like myself) an easy way to converse and foster relationships throughout their lives. Tolerance, worldviews, and even healing have sprung from Rowling’s pages. In fact, MuggleNet has a podcast, Beyond the Veil, dedicated to exploring why Harry Potter means so much to people. Inspiring stories have poured in from people around the world and help solidify the influence of Rowling’s world. The positive experiences fans expound is proof of Rowling’s significant contribution to the world.

 

J.K. Rowling helped a whole generation see the enjoyment of reading!

Kids went from groaning at the sight of a chapter book to hauling three-inch-thick Potter books everywhere overnight. I personally remember my interest sparking from the cover of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It didn’t matter that the book was larger than any literary challenge I had attempted up to that point or the difficulty of balancing the large frame in my tiny hands, I had to read it. For many of us, Potter was a gateway into a whole new world of fantastic adventures accessed through the written word. Due to my love for J.K. Rowling’s series, I have continued to hungrily consume books and seek to spread that revelation to the next generation.  Not only does the series continue to nourish reading comprehension, but it also helps kids develop empathy and tolerance, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. What more can you ask of an author? Rowling has shown the importance of storytelling and complex themes time and time again.

 

J.K. Rowling’s humble beginnings inspire us all.

J.K. Rowling has earned her world-renowned reputation from creativity and resilience in the face of adversity. Parts of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone were penned on napkins while Rowling was a single mother. Her story exemplifies the importance of creativity, self-confidence, and the value of pursuing your passions. Rowling’s difficult times have deepened her sense of empathy and understanding, which led to the formation of her charity Lumos that works to place children with families instead of institutions. In 2017, Lumos helped relocate 599 children to loving families, prevented 3,272 children from entering detrimental institutions, and provided 493 lifesaving materials for children who were at risk for malnutrition or abuse.  Whether the protection comes from the emotional comfort of a narrative or the creation of an influential organization, clearly Rowling is a generous woman who strives to improve the lives of children around the world. In addition, Rowling supports many more charities and research, including the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. This clinic – named after Rowling’s mother, who passed in 1990 from multiple sclerosis – aims to improve the quality of life for people suffering from MS, MND, and other neurodegenerative conditions.

 

 

 

Despite the circulation of negativity surrounding the Potter community lately, fans need to band together and celebrate the achievements of the wonderful woman who brought us the wizarding world. J.K. Rowling continues to inspire and effect change in the world. If more people led by her example, we could help build a world where children are safe with loving families and Dobby can be a free elf. Happy Birthday, Jo!

Let’s spread the positivity. Why are you grateful for J.K. Rowling? Let us know your perspective and story in the comments below!