Scholastic Commissions New Cover Illustrations for the 20th Anniversary of ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’!

Copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, on sale in an Arlington, Virginia bookstore in 2000.

Jan 17, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson | Comments

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While the UK celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) last year and has now moved on to commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), fans in America have patiently waited to mark the occasion of Harry Potter’s introduction to the United States in October of 1998.

The first book in the series brought magic to American shores with a new name and some rephrasing of common British colloquialisms. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published by Scholastic with a cover design by illustrator Mary GrandPré.

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According to Scholastic, GrandPré fine-tuned her preference for pastels and “soft-geometry” in art school. Though she experimented with other styles and media, her bio indicates that she continues to return to pastels, especially suited, in her estimation, for children’s books. It goes on:

“She enjoys working on children’s books because she can focus on a big project for a long time, using brighter colors to create larger, simpler pieces. And it allows her to indulge in her love of magic, fantasy, and whimsy.”

Her work was well-suited, then, for vividly expressing the beauty of J.K. Rowling’s introduction to the wizarding world, and Americans have loved her cover art with childlike affection and devotion for 20 years!

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Now, in celebration of this momentous anniversary, Scholastic has commissioned new cover art by illustrator Brian Selznick, winner of the  Caldecott Medal for his work on The Invention of Hugo Cabret. In fact, Pottermore reports that Selznick will not only produce new designs for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but for all seven books in the series as well in order to furnish fans with a full set!

He spoke to Pottermore about his interest in the series and hopes for this collaboration, saying:

“I’m a big Harry Potter fan and it is an incredible honour to illustrate J.K. Rowling’s iconic series…I am thrilled to play a part in this exciting 20th anniversary celebration and look forward to meeting Harry Potter fans and readers across the country.”

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In the sample of his previous acclaimed work above, fans can get a glimpse of what Selznick will bring to these new editions. The cover boasts an emphasis on bold color and design, but his eye-catching art also shows a masterful incorporation of detail balanced with a whimsical backdrop that draws the eager reader into the story’s setting. We can’t wait to see how these new covers will re-imagine Harry Potter’s epic adventures, capturing our fancy once again!

The new editions featuring Selznick’s cover art will come to U.S. bookstores in July of this year. They will retain the interior work of original illustrator Mary GrandPré, melding the magic of the new with the warmth of the beloved familiar, and will be a beautiful addition to the bookshelf of all Potter fans!

The feature image is included courtesy of Getty images.





The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.