Leila, a nine-year-old in Karachi, loves reading about the Boy Who Lived and He Who Must Not Be Named. So when she found out that her favourite author, JK Rowling, had written another book called The Ickabog and had invited readers to help illustrate, she had to send something in.
Once she came up with her masterpiece, Leila’s mother shared it on Twitter. Later that day, she asked her friend, Khizra, to tag the author and retweet Leila’s illustration.
So last night, a close friend messaged me asking to RT her tweet where she’s posted an illustration her 10yr old made for a competition for J K Rowling’s new book #TheIckabog. It’s a competition but Pakistan doesn’t qualify for it. She asked me to tag JKR. pic.twitter.com/lzYGHqSmiH
— Khizra (@KhizM) June 4, 2020
Within an hour, Rowling responded to the tweet and said that she loved it. “You’ve put so much of the story into the illustration: it’s clearly a carpenter’s house, with all those wooden accents, and I love the garden and flowers (but the sign to the graveyard adds a sad note).”
I LOVE this beautiful picture of the Dovetails’ house, Leila! You’ve put so much of the story into the illustration: it’s clearly a carpenter’s house, with all those wooden accents, and I love the garden and flowers (but the sign to the graveyard adds a sad note 💔) #TheIckabog https://t.co/ElyvYuJtUH
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 3, 2020
Leila has been over the moon since. “I was so surprised and so happy. She [Rowling] even got my name right! Everybody spells my name with an A. I was so happy. I could barely sit down for a minute. I went around telling all my friends online,” she told SAMAA Digital.
Talking about her illustration, Leila said that when she started reading the chapter from The Ickabog, it wasn’t hard for her to picture the house, garden and graveyard. “It was very easy to picture it all in my head,” she said. “I also love Harry Potter. It is a good book…also it’s about magic and I love magical fairy tale books.”