Books

J.K. Rowling's new children's book The Ickabog features illustrations from 9 Canadian kids

The Harry Potter author called on young fans to illustrate her latest tale.
Canadian children helped illustrate J.K. Rowling's latest book, The Ickabog. ( Photography Debra Hurford Brown © J.K. Rowling 2018, Scholastic)

J.K. Rowling's latest children's book, a fairy tale called The Ickabog, has been illustrated by young fans across Canada and the United States. 

Earlier this year, the Harry Potter author called upon fans to help create illustrations for her new story, which initially was released online in daily instalments to entertain younger children during the global pandemic and COVID-19 related lockdowns. 

The Ickabog illustration by Eden, age 9. (Submitted by Scholastic Canada)

Children's publishing company Scholastic organized the illustration competition, which had parents and guardians enter their child's artwork for a chance to be published in the print version of The Ickabog. The competition saw more than 42,000 entries submitted across the U.S. and Canada. 

A panel of judges from Scholastic selected 34 winners this past summer. The winners range in age from seven to 12 years old.

Nine of them are Canadian hailing from Vancouver to Thunder Bay, Ont.

Each winner will receive a copy of The Ickabog signed by J.K. Rowling and Scholastic will donate $650 worth of children's books to a school or public library of the winner's choice. 

Although J.K. Rowling was not a judge of the competition, she said, "For me, the most exciting part of publishing The Ickabog has been seeing all the wonderful illustrations coming in... I'd probably have put them all in the book if I could!"

The Ickabog illustration by Clara, age 7. (Submitted by Scholastic Canada)

The Ickabog is a fast-paced and funny fairy tale about a tiny kingdom called Cornucopia and the monster that lurks on the outskirts. Some say the monster breathes fire and spits poisons, while others claim it's just a myth. When two children living in the kingdom, best friends Bert and Daisy, decide to find the real monster, their exciting adventure begins. The Ickabog is a story about truth, abuse of power and hope against all odds.

Rowling says the idea for the fairy tale came to her while she was still writing Harry Potter. 

"It isn't intended to be read as a response to anything that's happening in the world right now. The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country," she said in a statement on her website.

The Ickabog was published Nov. 10, 2020 in the U.S. and Canada.

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