Tag Archives: children’s books

Special Anniversary Covers Coming for ‘Harry Potter’

harry-potter-1Can you believe this year marks 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the name of the first book outside the U.S.) was released?

According to Entertainment Weekly, to honor the book that changed children’s literature, London-based publisher Bloomsbury Books is released special 20th anniversary covers for the book. There are eight new covers, honoring the four houses in Hogwarts.

Illustrator Levi Pinfold did the artwork for Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. There are different covers for the hardcover and paperback editions with the hardcover books having a black background.

The new covers hit the shelves in June. I’m sure they’ll sell well. Publishers will find any way to keep the Harry Potter craze going strong.

But I’m still stuck on this: it’s been 20 years?! Seriously?!

Leave a comment

Filed under News Articles

Harry Potter Exhibit in the Works

rowlingDid I call it or did I call it? J.K. Rowling et al keep finding ways to make Harry Potter relevant. According to Entertainment Weekly, a new Harry Potter exhibit will open next year at the British Library.

The exhibit will commemorate the 20th — can you believe it?? Yes, I said 20TH! — anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book of the Harry Potter series (aka Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.). The exhibit will include things from J.K. Rowling’s archives and other goodies from British publisher Bloomsbury. The exhibit will be open October 20, 2017 until February 28, 2018.

All of this comes with the news that the latest addition to Harry Potter‘s universe, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has sold more than three million copies.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author News, News Articles

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

harry-potter-cursed-child-poster**Spoiler Alert: This review does contain spoilers about the latest edition and all books included in the Harry Potter series.

Contributed by: Sam Sloan, friend and high school English teacher

1. First of all, the obvious, what did you think? How did the feel of the play compare to the Harry Potter novels?

Having only read each Harry Potter novel once, reading the play gave me flashbacks of sitting down with the fifth novel. I had swallowed up the first four novels in late middle/early high school. I have a clear memory of taking the fifth one from my sister’s bedroom and giddily running off to my room to start it, excited to be reunited with old friends and to see how life would be after the horrors of the Triwizard Cup.

When I read the play, I felt my old friends had, like me, had gotten older but maybe not any wiser. They had some of the same problems with adulting that I have– despite having saved the world, Harry still struggles with doing what’s right and facing his past and adolescent children who struggle beneath the shadow his celebrity casts upon them. (I haven’t saved the world, but isn’t that the secret dream of any high school English teacher?)

Unlike the novels, the play forced me to stop and actually imagine a stage upon which this action would take place. Reading the novels allowed me to totally immerse myself in a make-believe world of dragons and Quidditch. This was a little different, as I had to imagine what this would look like on a Muggle stage.

2. What was it like reading Harry Potter in play format? How did the format affect or not affect the story?

Personally, I like reading plays because the stage directions are more than just adverbs that describe how a character should deliver a certain line. A narrator that is actively a part of the play gives the audience information about why something is happening, and the stage directions provide a reader with insight and background information that the reader might not necessarily receive through the delivery of lines. When the reader gets to read this, it helps to better create those characters on that stage in their minds.

3. Did you have a favorite new character?

Scorpius Malfoy. He’s self-aware: he knows the rumors about him, but he also knows that his parents didn’t want to raise him the way Lucius raised Draco. His mother is a tender character, who obviously enhanced his sensitivity and ability to tune out gossip. His innocence and desire for a friend melted my icy Slytherin heart. And he also validated my love for Slytherins. Scorpius is so the opposite of his father when Draco was a child and is such a good contrast to the moody, resentful Albus.

His crush on Rose and his desire to make sure that he and Albus didn’t create a Rose-less world was heart-warming. It’s nice to see that Draco and Astoria Malfoy raised their son to be the opposite of Draco or his horrible little friends. Not all Slytherins are jerks, and Scorpius proves that.

4. What was different from the books? (You mentioned some changes with the magic itself and also the inclusion — or lack thereof — of certain characters.) Did you like these changes? Was there a reason you think they were made?

Being that I only read the books once, a lot of the magic rules were foggy in my mind. I remember that Hermione had a time-turner in the third book to help with her class load, but I didn’t remember the parameters of using a time-turner. I did a quick Google search to refresh my memory (big shout out to the Harry Potter Wiki page).

Whether or not the “rules” of some of the magic were followed to a T is hard for me to say, but the magic served its purpose for the means of a play.

One thing that irked me was that Neville was frequently spoken about between the characters but didn’t make an appearance. Thanks to the time-turning, Harry’s dreams, and the talking paintings of the magic world, the reader was reacquainted with Snape, Hagrid, Dumbledore, and Cedric, but not Neville.

Neville spent his whole childhood being put down by his peers and even his own grandmother, but he played a crucial role in Voldemort’s defeat. He easily could’ve been included. Disappointing, to say the least, because I consider him as heroic as Harry, Hermione, and Ron. It was as if he were still being picked on.

Also surprisingly left out was Luna Lovegood. The big difference between her omission and Neville’s is that she was not even mentioned by other characters in passing. She was good enough for Harry and Ginny to name theirdaughter after her, but not good enough to include in the play? Hmph.

harry-potter-cursed-child-poster

It was nice to have an additional story, but it wasn’t necessary. I really did like the way the series ended. Good triumphed over evil. For the first time in his life Harry Potter was as close to normal as he could ever be. Ron and Hermione wound up together (despite me not being able to understand how the lovable Ron tolerated her know-it- all, sometimes obnoxious attitude). Draco Malfoy learned the difference between doing what’s right and doing what’s popular. I like that ending!

But like I said, it was like visiting old friends. I liked being able to hear Snape’s voice in my head again. I felt a crushing sadness when Harry spoke to the painting of Dumbledore about being a father. It was wonderful to be in that world again. But I didn’t need to be. The novels can stand the test of time through their themes of friendship, generosity, and tolerance; the play emphasizes and reminds the reader of those themes, but Potter fans likely haven’t forgotten them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Eighth ‘Harry Potter’ Book Coming This Summer

harry-potter-cursed-child-posterClearly, I wasn’t kidding when I — just last week! — blogged that J.K. Rowling amazingly continues to find ways to churn out Harry Potter books. 

That amazingness will continue this summer when she releases a new eighth installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (!!!). According to CNN, the book is actually a two-part play that picks up where the last novel in the series left off — with Harry now a father to son, Albus.

The play is set to debut in London this summer, and the script book of the play will be released the next day, at midnight on July 31st. It’s the first official Potter story to be performed on stage. The original story comes from Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.

So why the book version if it’s already being performed on stage? The better question is why not? Little, Brown Book Group CEO David Shelley said in a press release, “J.K. Rowling and her team have received a huge number of appeals from fans who can’t be in London to see the play and who would like to read the play in book format — and so we are absolutely delighted to be able to make it available for them.”

This is a special rehearsal edition. A finalized version will be released later, in case the writers make any changes to the play that would then need to be reflected in the book.

J.K. Rowling, everyone — the Harry Potter gift that keeps on giving!

1 Comment

Filed under Author News, News Articles

More ‘Harry Potter’ Adult Coloring Books Set to Debut

harry-potter-coloring-booksAh yes, the adult coloring book craze continues. I, myself, have been searching stores high and low for the perfect adult coloring book, and haven’t been able to find one. They generally consist of intricate designs that may be fun and relaxing to color, but don’t necessarily form anything exciting in the end. For me, that’s simply will not do. But someone heard my prayers — and apparently I’ve just been looking in the wrong places.

According to Hypable, five official Harry Potter coloring books will by out by this summer. Two have already been released. The first is a number one bestseller on Amazon. Just last month, yet another was released — this one based on magical creatures from the Harry Potter series.

Scholastic has more planned, including Harry Potter Magical Places & Characters Coloring Book and Harry Potter Postcard Coloring Book, which are set to be released in March and Harry Potter Artifacts Coloring Book, set for a June release.

It makes complete sense that the pop culture-oriented coloring books are selling the most. After all, they have pictures of characters and settings with which people are familiar. Not to mention, this is a brilliant way for J.K. Rowling to expand on her ever-growing Potter empire. It’s both crazy and amazing how much she continues to churn out in the way of books, coloring books and movies, even though the actual story of Harry Potter is done. Allegedly.

1 Comment

Filed under Author News, News Articles

J.K. Rowling Plans to Pen More Novels

Apparently J.K. Rowling is going through a midlife crisis. The crisis at hand? That she won’t have the opportunity to write all the stories she wants to write.

According to TimeHarry Potter author Rowling has many more stories up her sleeve, ready to be written into novels and children’s books. “Novels in the plural, I have so many ideas. I have an idea for a children’s book. I have written part of a children’s book that I really love so I am definitely going to finish that,” said Rowling.

Already in the works are her play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, screenplay and Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and her third Cormoran Strike novel under the Robert Galbraith pen name, Career of Evil. 

All that she’s done since the Harry Potter series ended is pretty remarkable, especially since most considered her to be such a flash in the plan with the series. Hopefully the new projects in progress are completed soon!

Leave a comment

Filed under Author News

New ‘Harry Potter’ E-Books To Have Animated Illustrations

It’s been eight years since the last Harry Potter novel was released, but now they’re all being released in a completely new way. Harry Potter e-books are now available, and according to The Associated Press, Apple has exclusive animated versions.

Enhanced e-book versions of the novels, exclusively for Apple products, includes more than 200 illustrations, many of which are animated or interactive. Other, non-animated versions of the e-books are available through author J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore web site.

Included in the enhanced e-books are author annotations similar to the ones Rowling’s written and included on her Pottermore web site, but there aren’t as many in the e-books as there are on Pottermore. The enhanced e-books also don’t include audio.

However, the illustrations are in full color, and the interactive illustrations are hidden; readers have to figure out what’s interactive for themselves. One example: during a scene at a meal, you can swipe to see all the food on other parts of the table.

The e-books cost $10 apiece, or $70 for the whole series.

As a kid, I read the paperback versions, but when I read the series to my eventual children, it certainly seems like the e-books are the version my kids will get to know.

1 Comment

Filed under Author News, News Articles