Two decades ago on June 26, 1997 – when Bill Clinton was still President and P. Diddy was still Puff Daddy – a children’s book written by a J.K. Rowling hit bookstores the world over. From this first installment was born the multimedia phenomenon that is the story and world of Harry Potter, the most famous fictional boy wizard of all.

Now, while five years shy of a Silver Milestone anniversary, there’s still enough reason to celebrate the beginnings of one of the contemporary pillars of children’s literature. And they’re certainly celebrating this globally, with real life events and virtual commemorations on the internet.

Multimedia giant

In terms of publishing, the main “Harry Potter” book series ended after a decade with the 2007 release of the climactic seventh, “Deathly Hallows”. The film series adaptations, which made super-idols of the three young stars portraying the main characters, would also take on that same time-frame, from 2001 to 2011.

But that wasn’t all there is to it where J.K. Rowling’s magical world is concerned. She continued making books to build up the world the characters lived in, one that has fascinated both readers and viewers for years. The “Cursed Child” stage play and the “Fantastic Beasts” film of 2016 are proof that the franchise’s popularity remains strong.

All that was quite the accomplishment considering Rowling’s often-told story of how many times her original manuscript for “Sorcerer’s Stone” (original British subtitle “Philosopher’s Stone”) was rejected by publishing firms.

Lucky for everyone, it was eventually taken a chance on.

At the time when “Harry Potter” met the world, it was claimed by studies that children of the 90s were significantly uninterested in reading long prose works. A later survey by British paper “The Guardian” would have it that teachers in the UK consider “Harry Potter” to be the “savior” of children’s literacy.

Varied celebrations

A juggernaut franchise like “Harry Potter” deserves what salutary gestures it gets on its 20Th Anniversary. Three days earlier, a large crowd of UK schoolchildren dressed up as the Boy Who Lived and gathered together to break the standing Guinness world record of “the most children assembled in ‘Harry Potter’ costume”.

That record was at 521; the children this year went over 600.

Over on the online side, none other than Facebook has activated a cool Easter egg on their website wherein any text post containing “Harry Potter” or the names of the four Houses of the Hogwarts School would be awash in appropriate colors. And when the highlighted names are clicked, a wand graphic appears to shoot out magic sparks on the page.

J.K. Rowling has been very appreciative of all the renewed attention her lifelong literary work has been getting, as seen in her anniversary Twitter post.