Juniper is a thriving, active kindergartner who sorts chickens into the houses of Hogwarts and voted for Hermione for president. She, like so many other children around the world, is obsessed with the world of Harry Potter. She especially looks forward to reading each book cover to cover because the author, J.K. Rowling, sent an entire signed set to her from England.
When Juniper was born at a woefully early 23-weeks, she weighed only 1 pound. Doctors, as well as her parents, feared she wasn’t likely to survive. Desperate for a miracle, Juniper’s father, Tom, reached for the closest magic – a well worn copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
“Chapter One: The Boy Who Lived,” he read.
It was the first line of the first book in the 7-volume series. In Tom’s mind, Juniper would want to know how the series ended and she would fight with everything her little body had to survive.
He was right.
An essay written by Juniper’s mother Kelley tells how important the books were to the family and how Tom read to Juniper every day. Juniper’s breathing and temperature improved each time she heard her father’s voice, and, eventually, she grew into a strong, smart little girl who got to hear the end of the story.
She was The Girl Who Lived.
The story of Juniper’s survival eventually reached Rowling, who sent a message to Kelley via Twitter. Kelley was thrilled to connect with the author who had played an integral role in Juniper’s journey. Now, Juniper is the proud owner of the entire series, signed and sent to her by Rowling.
To share their story, Tom and Kelley have written their own book, Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon. In it, they tell the story of Juniper and her road to health thanks to the doctors and nurses of Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. They also credit their favorite author, J.K. Rowling, and the magical world she created for encouraging Juniper’s fight to stay alive.