Books are remarkable things. They teach us, inspire us, and transport us to magical worlds beyond our wildest dreams.
We all have positive memories associated with books. Bedtime stories fueled our dreams and the works of others motivated us to write stories of our own.
For Matt Burke from Florida, books have served an especially important role.
As a single dad, he’s relied a lot on libraries to keep his daughter entertained.
While they’ve read all kinds of books in the past, lately one particular series has been gripping them.
As a poor dad, Matt Burke has been reading Harry Potter to his daughter to keep her entertained.
Burke has his work cut out for him as a single dad, a subject he went into great detail about in his May post on Noteworthy entitled “Being the Broke Parent.” Without internet access or a television, he has looked toward libraries as the best option for entertaining his 9-year-old daughter.
“Through my own recent love of reading, I acquired a library card for myself, as well as one for her, so that we can check out all of the books we want and read them as wanted over their 21 day checkout period,” Burke wrote.
“This has led us to some absolutely incredible times, even better conversations, as well as memories that I wouldn’t change for the world.”
Yet when his daughter started reading the Harry Potter series, 31-year-old Burke was unsure how to proceed. He had missed the boat on the initial HP craze in the late 90s and early 2000s thinking he was too old and “too cool” to read the books when they came out.
“This left me with 2 main options,” Burke wrote. “1) I could continue to not care about it and we could maintain our separate reading times and book lists, or 2) I could meet myself in her world and we could read the books together, out loud.”
Wanting to give the series a chance, Burke opted for the second choice—and after finishing the first book in the series, realized these stories were a lot more exciting than he had given them credit for.
“At the time of this writing, we’re halfway through the second book, and we’re having an absolute BLAST reading them together,” he wrote.
Burke tweeted to J.K. Rowling to thank her but he never expected a response.
On June 7, Burke decided to follow up on his blog post by writing a personal thank you to Harry Potter‘s creator, J.K. Rowling. He didn’t expect her to reply or to even see his message.
He just wanted to put his thoughts out there in the universe:
@jk_rowling I’m a single parent, broke as can be, and reading the Harry Potter series together has become one of the biggest sources of bonding for us.
Doubt you’ll come across this or read this piece, but I just wanted to say thanks for the assist. 🙏🏻https://t.co/hkX0q5HSCX
— Matt Burke (@mattburkephoto) June 7, 2018
Despite Burke’s low expectations, Rowling replied later that day saying she felt honored by the role her characters played in this father-daughter relationship. She also made Burke an offer he couldn’t refuse: free signed copies of her books!
.@mattburkephoto The gifts you’re giving your daughter are priceless and I’m truly honoured that Harry & co are playing a part. DM me your address for a set of signed Potters x https://t.co/EAcIKvwJwb
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 7, 2018
According to Popsugar, Burke responded in complete shock!
“Oh my, my head is about to explode,” he said. “You are too kind, thank you so much. I’ll DM you my address ASAP.”
Oh my, my head is about to explode. 😭
You are too kind, thank you so much. I’ll DM you my address ASAP.
— Matt Burke (@mattburkephoto) June 7, 2018
Burke wasn’t the only one amazed by this interaction however. When Potter fans saw how Rowling responded to the situation, they doled out plenty of praise for both the author and Burke.
JK you are a class act. I love following your Twitter. I read the Harry Potter Series with my wife when we first starting dating. Like so many other parents, I am exciting for when children are old enough and can read HP together.
— zeppo young (@ZeppoYoung) June 11, 2018
Everything about this brightened my day.
— Keith Blenman (@keithblenman) June 8, 2018
Your interaction with jk really made my day yesterday! Absolutely lovely!
I checked out your photos… I loved them…. you’re a talented guy. 👍🏼
Keep on keeping on Buddy. X
— Onion (@mellyonion) June 8, 2018
I agree with Ms. Rowling. You are giving your daughter such an amazing gift, and it will stay with her her entire life. Much love to you, sir. I wish I had had a father like you. <3
— Jenny RH (@LambtonJenny) June 8, 2018