When we first meet Harry Potter, he lives in a small space under the Dursleys’ stairs, lonely and afraid that what his cousin says about him is true: he will never fit in. Yet destiny soon bursts into his life in the form of a half-giant named Hagrid to correct that assumption. Harry belongs to a whole new world; he’s a wizard, and in Diagon Alley, his infamous scar is no longer ugly, but miraculous. On the Hogwarts Express, his compartment is small, but it holds true friends. Harry escapes the Dursleys, and finds places and people with whom he belongs. These early moments in the Harry Potter series are so memorable and special for all of us because we too feel we are being invited into a world where all of us, with scars and all, can not only belong, but soar together. Books and stories are miraculous too, because they create worlds of invitation.
In 2010, my organization LitWorld created a holiday called World Read Aloud Day to give every single person in the world a way to feel a sense of belonging to stories, books and reading together. Since that first celebration, “WRAD” has grown to include millions of people, in countries across the world.
With all that magic, it is this year, 2018 that is perhaps the most magical time ever for World Read Aloud Day. On February 1st, we will become a worldwide 24-hour experience by teaming up with Harry Potter Book Night! Harry Potter Book Night is an annual celebration that is all about passing on the magic of J.K. Rowling’s books to the next generation of readers, as well as celebrating with devoted fans.