Wednesday, 10 December 2008

'The Tales of Beedle the Bard' launched at Edinburgh tea party, now also in Thailand

JK Rowling launched her new book of fairy-tales The Tales of Beedle the Bard at a children's tea party at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh on December 4th, and already it has reached Thailand.

Paper Tigers states that, "This is particularly exciting because in the dark ages before Harry Potter, conventional wisdom claimed that Thai children would only read comic books. It just took one young wizard and his talented creator to prove that generalization was wrong–and his magic continues to keep young readers in Thailand–and all over the world– reading."

Millions of copies of the book went on sale on December 4, to raise funds for the charity JK Rowling helped found, the Children's High Level Group.

The tales were first mentioned in the seventh and final book in the Potter series - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and originally produced in a limited edition of just seven books, each hand-written and illustrated by Rowling herself. She gave six of the volumes as gifts to people who helped make Harry Potter a global success, while the seventh hand-written copy was auctioned by CHLG last year and snapped up for £1.95 million.

JK Rowling talked about why she decided to make the book much more widely available."The idea actually came from you, by which I mean Harry Potter fans," she told the 200 primary school children gathered at Edinburgh's Parliament Hall. "There was quite a lot of high feeling from Harry Potter fans that only someone who had £2 million could afford to read the book. I thought 'fair point', so I thought I'll publish it and then the charity can have that money too."

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children in Eastern Europe are living in appalling conditions in large, residential institutions
JK Rowling

In the final Potter book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was a volume of wizarding fairytales left to Hermione Granger by Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. The tales played a crucial role in helping Harry to defeat Lord Voldemort, but only one of the five stories, The Tale of the Three Brothers, was recounted in the book.

The National Library of Scotland has borrowed an original copy of the tales from Barry Cunningham, JK Rowling's first editor. Mr Cunningham was one of only six people to receive an original Beedle, created, illustrated and hand-written by JK Rowling, as a personal gift from the author last year.

The seventh copy was given to CHLG for the charity to auction, and was acquired by Amazon for a winning bid of £1.95m/$4m in December 2007.

It is hoped that sales of the book, which has been translated into 28 languages, will raise millions of pounds for CHLG, the charity co-founded by Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP.

About the Children's High Level Group

CHLG is funding a series of education and outreach activities to improve the lives of marginalised and institutionalised children.

The Children's High Level Group (CHLG) was founded in 2005 by the author JK Rowling and MEP Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne to help the 1 million children across Europe still living in large residential institutions.

Contrary to popular belief, only 4% of these children are orphans, and they are in care because their families are poor, disabled or from ethnic minorities. Many of these children have disabilities and handicaps, but often remain without any health or educational interventions. In some cases they do not receive basic services such as adequate food. Almost always they are without human or emotional contact and stimulation.

To make real and lasting change CHLG is focusing on improving healthcare, education and welfare services. This includes finding ways to strengthen and support families; improving national foster care and adoption so that vulnerable children can be brought up within loving families in their own countries; and reforming welfare systems so that children are not put into institutions unnecessarily.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I do admire what J.K.Rowling has done as a consequence of her success with 'Harry Potter'. A person of great integrity, it seems.