By Michael MacLeod
THE world’s most expensive children’s book has been unveiled – but author JK Rowling is giving all the money to charity.
As well as the £2 million the original hand-written book pulled in at auction, all of Rowling’s royalties from copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard will also be donated to her children’s charity.
Harry Potter fans now have a once in a lifetime chance to see Rowling’s handwritten and self-illustrated work up close and personal.
The original copy, bound in brown Moroccan leather and embossed with hand-carved sterling silver ornaments, is on show to coincide with the release of reproductions of the book.
Rowling gave the original copy to her first ever editor Barry Cunningham, who has temporarily donated it to the National Libraries of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Today Rowling will host a special tea party at the library for 200 lucky school children and read a chapter from the highly-anticipated book.
Mr Cunningham said: “Jo gave me my copy a year ago and I felt honoured because it’s an historic book.
“Harry Potter fans are going to love this opportunity to see her handwriting and drawings right up close.”
Book website Amazon paid £1.95 million for the original copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard – cash that will help children in Eastern Europe.
As the first editor to give Rowling her big break in writing, Mr Cunningham says he feels “slightly responsible” for her success.
He added: “Of course, I didn’t know she had been rejected by so many other editors beforehand, but I saw her talent right from the very beginning.
“It’s strange now to think all those years ago I was one of the first people to enjoy the adventures of Harry Potter, but the success now is beyond even her imagination.
“I feel slightly responsible, but I’m more proud of the fact we’ve made reading cool again.
“It is sad that the series of stories is now over, but I can’t imagine anyone who is as in love with stories and writing as she is to just walk away – I’m certain she’ll keep writing.”
All proceeds from sales of the book will go to the Children’s High Level Group (CHLG), the charity co-founded by Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP.
Georgette Milheir, director of operations for CHLG said: “It’s an amazing feat of generosity on the part of Jo to donate all her royalties to this cause.
“She was shocked to see some children are still kept in cages in Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic.
“The money really will go a long way to helping some of the world’s most vulnerable children, who most people don’t even know exist.
“It’s so close to home yet a lot of political lobbying still needs to be done, so we are immensely grateful to Jo for this pledge.”