Movie Talk

‘Harry Potter’ celebrates 15 years with new book covers

New 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' illustrated by Kazu KibuishiThe new 'Sorcerer's Stone' cover, left, and the original (Photo: Scholastic)It's hard to believe Harry Potter has been around for 15 years.

J.K. Rowling's first book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," launched in the late '90s, marking the beginning of a multibillion-dollar entertainment franchise.

In honor of the book series' 1998 U.S. debut (it launched in the UK in 1997), Rowling's American publisher, Scholastic, has unveiled the first of seven new book covers illustrated by graphic novel artist Kazu Kibuishi (the artist behind the New York Times bestselling series "Amulet"). Incidentally, Suzanne Collins' wildly popular "Hunger Games" trilogy is also published by Scholastic.

Kibuishi is said to be a longtime Potter fan and considers the experience "more than a little surreal."

All seven new covers will appear on paperback editions available in September and will depict a "distinctive and memorable moment" from each book. And this first one by Kibuishi clearly seems to be depicting Harry Potter's first tour of the magical world. Hagrid and his owl appear behind Harry as they walk through the cobbled wizard shopping area Diagon Alley. This is where Harry gets all of his Hogwarts school supplies, including his most essential tool: his wand.

The book series will also be released that month as a boxed set.

The original art for the books will continue to be featured on the U.S. hardcover and digest paperback editions. "The Harry Potter covers by Mary GrandPré are so fantastic and iconic," said Kibuishi. "When I was asked to submit samples, I initially hesitated because I didn't want to see them reinterpreted! However, I felt that if I were to handle the project, I could bring something to it that many other designers and illustrators probably couldn't..."

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