This past Tuesday, the 27th, a new Harry Potter box set was released in the United States. In order to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of the first iconic Harry Potter book in the States, Scholastic commissioned artist, Kazu Kibuishi, to redesign the book covers. Kazu has done work all over the place, most notably his middle grade graphic novel series, Amulet.
When I first heard about this, I was skeptical. As a huge Potterhead, I love everything about this book series, including the movies and the merchandise, and I love the artwork that Mary Grandpre created for these books. Its just beautiful.
But as they began to release the covers for the new editions, and as each one came out, I felt more and more excited about this box set. Check out the covers below.
They even went all out, and designed the beautiful box that they come in, and the spines so that they create a panorama of Hogwarts when they are all lined up.
And I love them. I think Kazu is an extremely talented artist, who really took the visions that already existed for Harry Potter and expanded on them. Meeting him on Wednesday night was such an awesome experience, especially since he sort of walked us through his career as an artist, and he showed us how he accomplished his artwork, using Photoshop. Yeah, you heard me right, all of the artwork for the new Harry Potter covers, including the back covers and the actual box they come in, were done in Photoshop with a pen and different computer created brushstrokes. Watching him create something using the same method was absolutely impressive and stunning. I really am so glad I was able to meet him. I got a couple books signed by him, and I also got a lithograph of some Half Blood Prince artwork signed by him, that I completely plan on getting framed for my wall.
This coming Sunday, the 1st of September, will be the exact 15th anniversary publishing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by Scholastic in the United States. While the book was obviously already gaining huge popularity before this, the publishing here in America really helped propel it to what it is now.
It also makes me feel really old. I first picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was 11 years old (so appropriate), and this was only the year after it was published in America, 1999. I have been reading this books for 14 years of my life.
So this is an incredibly important day for me. At eleven years old, I think I was struggling with reading. And by struggling, I mean, that I wasn’t really equipped to find books that were suitable to my reading level, and to my interest level. There was no easy access internet back then, or GoodReads or blogs like this to help me find the next book to read like there is now. If you want to pick a new book to read, its the simplest task in the world. Go on GoodReads, Twitter, Facebook, a blog, etc. But back then, I was reading Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, things that just were not my reading level. I could finish a couple of those books in a day. But it wasn’t challenging, it wasn’t expanding my mind, or showing me the world of books.
I have to thank two people for bringing these books in my life. First off, I have to thank Mrs. Doane, who was a substitute teacher when I was in school, who played the Jim Dale audiobook for the class during SSR and I fell in love. We only got through the first chapter, but I was already hooked. Coincidentally, my dad had taken my siblings to go buy books, and he knew that he couldn’t come home from Borders without a book for me, his little reader. Somehow, I don’t even know how, but my dad bought me Harry Potter and brought that home from me. I think my dad expected a happy response, because I love free books, but I don’t think he expected me to jump up and down in excitement.
The rest is history.
Without Harry Potter in my life, I would not be the person that I am. I would not be as openminded and tolerant and outgoing. I would not believe the things that I do, and the things that I don’t as well. I wouldn’t have the values or morals that I feel so strongly about and I wouldn’t have the courage, or the courage I’m learning to have.
Without Harry Potter in my life, I wouldn’t be able to believe in myself as a writer. I think for so long that I thought of writers as people who were so above me, that not an average person could sit down and tell an awesome story, until I read Harry Potter, and until I heard the story of JK Rowling. She has inspired me as a writer, both with her story and her actual writing, and she helps me to believe that I can do it.
Without Harry Potter, I wouldn’t have met as many awesome people that I have. I have made so many friends due to my love of this series. I have met so many bloggers because of my love of this series. I wouldn’t have met the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army, which is a group of some of the BEST people I have ever met in my life. Seriously, there are 600+ members and growing and I love bonding with all of them, and knowing that they are an amazing group of friends.
Lastly (for the purpose of this post, because I could go on and on and on and on), without Harry Potter, I would have never thought to get something permanently tattooed on myself. I now have four Harry Potter tattoos, one Star Wars, one Mortal Instruments and one Doctor Who and I love each and every one of them. They are all so special to me, and I think they are beautiful on my body. I love displaying these beautiful pieces of the fandoms on my body. Without Harry Potter, I would never had done it, and I wouldn’t know how awesome and wonderful it makes me feel.
So Happy Birthday Harry Potter! Its been 15 years and I know that 15, 30, 100 years from now, people will continue to talk about these books, and the impact they made on us and the impact they will continue to make. We are so glad that you’ve been such a success and I look forward to so many more generations discovering the beauty that is Harry Potter.
Happy Reading everyone!