USA TODAY — Harry Potter is getting all spruced up for a new generation of readers.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the American publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and to mark the occasion, Scholastic has tapped children’s book author/illustrator Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) to design new jackets for the blockbuster series.
The seven new paperback editions will hit stores June 26.
The original Scholastic series sports instantly recognizable jackets by American illustrator Mary GrandPré. Selznick will bring his own brand of magic to the series starring the bespectacled boy wizard and his coterie of Hogwarts pals (and mortal enemies).
Selznick favors an antiquey black-and-white style, and his Potter jackets continue that theme. When placed side-by-side chronologically, the seven books create a single image that tells Harry’s story, from his arrival at No. 4 Privet Drive to the final Battle of Hogwarts.
Selznick, describing himself as a “huge Harry Potter fan,” says he is “honored” to illustrate the anniversary editions and wanted his artwork to reflect the “relationships between the characters," including Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Albus Dumbledore.
A particular challenge, he says, was drawing seven covers that would stand alone, but that would also create one overall image when lined up in order. “It took dozens and dozens of sketches to get it right," he says. He's added Potter touchstones to the illustrations, such as Hermione’s Time-Turner, Harry’s Patronus and the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.
Scholastic also plans to release a “collectible” boxed set designed by Selznick in September.
Selznick is best known for Hugo Cabret, which won the 2008 Caldecott Medal and became a Martin Scorsese film. Inspired by pioneer French filmmaker Georges Méliès, it’s a mystery about an orphaned boy who lives in a Paris train station. Selznick’s other books include Wonderstruck, which also became a movie, and The Marvels.
Rowling’s series launched in the U.K. in 1997 with the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In September 1998, Scholastic issued an American edition under the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published in 2007.
The series has sold 180 million copies in the U.S. and more than 500 million copies worldwide and became a hugely successful movie franchise.