As we get ready to celebrate 25 years of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Bloomsbury Publishing wants to hear YOUR memories of your first reading experiences of Harry Potter. On 26th June 2022 (the anniversary itself) Bloomsbury will release a video of fans’ first memories of reading Harry Potter.
Get your entries to Bloomsbury for a chance to be featured in the video AND for a chance to win a signed copy by J.K. Rowling of the anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (publishing 9th June).
It seems hardly any time at all since I reflected on 20 years of HP and yet, here we are, at the start of a huge year of silver anniversary celebrations for what is, to my mind at least, the most successful fiction series of all time. Many of you will have already got the heads up about the many events planned but if not, do make sure you check them out and sign up for newsletters and activity packs. I am hugely excited for the upcoming release of the illustrated Tales of Beedle the Bard and, in my new library, starting up yet another PotterHeads group as well as beginning plans for a Harry Potter Night event later in the year.
There is also a great Miles of Magic competition which might excite your kiddos – I’ve been sharing it with mine, as well as my staff and library groups.
In the meantime, given it is the anniversary and, no doubt, as I have done you have a regular re-purchase of titles as they get shabby and worn out (how many others can you say that about!?), you might like to consider buying the anniversary edition, either paperback or hardback as a special – or even to offer up as the ultimate desirable prize for a celebratory competition of your own.
My own HP collection continues to expand. Besides jewelry, clothing, accessories, and the pieces I have at school in my library, I’ve just re-organised my ‘home’ collection as it had outgrown its space on the regular bookshelf. My latest acquisition is the adorable handmade mandrake ‘Cadfael’ – he’s just so cute! But also quite new from Xmas: the Sorting Hat, the Pensieve kit and the Hufflepuff wax seal set – from my equally HP crazed middle daughter – thanks Kimmy, fellow Hufflepuff! 🙂
The Kid just shakes her head each time something new in the HP line comes into the house (where did I go wrong? WHY is she so resistant to the charms of HP et al?) but that’s unlikely to stop the flow any time soon.
Happy Silver Anniversary Harry and congratulations to J. K., Bloomsbury and the artists and creators who have added so much to the original stories – and special thanks to the lovely Sonia at Bloomsbury Australia, who understands my obsession very well. Some of us will never be too old for Harry!
So of course the piece de resistance of any batch of books, particularly at Halloween, is new HP ones and these two are absolute corkers!!!
Harry Potter – Magical Creatures: a movie scrapbook
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Any HP fan would love this and if kids, will certainly strip all its special additions out to adorn their walls, school books, lunchboxes whatever. There are all manner of inserts: stickers, art prints, postcards, even a woven cloth badge!!, all of which will absolutely delight any dedicated PotterHead (including this one!).
I don’t think any true fan finds it a disappointment to find out more about how their favourite stories were brought to life on the screen, and even those who are purists who might pretend to disdain a movie version of their darlings, can still appreciate the imagination, creativity and technical skill that goes into kindling life into mythical and fictional creatures.
No matter your favourites (for me, definitely bowtruckles and pygmy puffs – I do prefer my magical beasties small and friendly – although I wouldn’t say no to a niffler), you will derive much pleasure in finding out more about their role and their presentation in the movies. Read the profile on so many of the creatures that are part of the Wizarding World from beautiful and loyal Fawkes the phoenix to much-loved Hedwig as well as the nasty ones like the Basilisk and mountain trolls.
Harry Potter – A Magical Year: The Illustrations of Jim Kay – J. K. Rowling (author), Jim Kay (illustrator)
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
If you have a PotterHead in the family, look no further for their Christmas gift. This is simply magnificent and any devotee will be so thrilled with it, will pore over it for hours and treasure it for years to come.
This is exactly what you might guess from the title. It is what I would describe as an almanac of significant events and memories from the Wizarding World so for each day there is an excerpt or quote as well as the absolutely dazzling illustrations throughout. Just look at these examples:
As I browse through this, I am captivated by the sheer beauty and detail of Jim Kay’s illustrations which so exquisitely envisage our cavalcade of favourite characters and recall so many of our memorable moments whether from the first time we read the books or the latest re-reading. Of course for those of us who were among the first readers two decades we have always had our own mental picture of certain people, places or plot details and somehow, when I see Kay’s interpretation, it is always exactly right.
Of particular interest are the additions of insights such as reproductions of original sketches and prepping. These are always fascinating and I have often shown children insights into the process of illustrating and they are always completely enthralled.
I know many of my HP aficionado friends are planning to put this on their shelf – of course, mine is firmly ensconced with its family as you will see below!
No higher recommendation can I give than to say it’s a must – you would rather buy this than eat your next meal and most definitely for any family or friends who deserve a sumptuous gift, you would be on a winner with this in their Christmas stocking.
I cannot thank Bloomsbury (and Sonia) enough for allowing me to wallow in the Wizarding World so often – I appreciate it so very much.
PS: re: “treasure it for years to come” – I went to the Bloomsbury website to check I had all the necessary details and see they had said the same thing! (well to say it independently I’m sure confirms it!).
Fifty young wizards and witches from Year 4 to Year 8 had plenty of magical fun at our big HP Night event yesterday afternoon. On arrival the kids all got a sealed envelope containing their Hogwarts letter, a laminated house themed bookmark (which neatly gave me the groups for the activity rotations) and a temporary tattoo of a lightning bolt.
Making butterbeer and decorating HP-themed biscuits
Wand making/decorating and also completing wand permits
Potions brewing (colour changing tea plus mini-potion bottles)
Papercrafts such as Cubees (Harry Potter & Voldemort), I Spy, Harry Potter ABC, House colour bows and rosettes,
Mini-Quidditch game and chocolate leapfrog game
Trivia and photo ops
Lucky door prizes – every student got a prize, from pencils to figurines, lanyards to badges, loads of bits and pieces I had accumulated during the year from various sources, and then one final draw for a copy of HP and the Half-Blood Prince which I had spare.
We had 3 tables of collectibles most of which belonged to myself, my junior school t-l and my library tech but one of our IT staff also lent us his Lego Diagon Alley for display. My own Lego group had already built the Great Hall during the term to form part of our display – we had some of our new HP books for perusal and a couple of static displays – Flourish & Blotts – with an amazing moving wizard photo of Gilderoy Lockhart (created by my library tech) as well as a Gringotts table.
It was exhausting, noisy, chaotic but hugely fun and exciting for all the kiddos.
Well didn’t I feel so special when the lovely Bloomsbury Australia folk sent me these – knowing full well my HP obsession! And they will make the most highly-sought after Christmas gifts for any PotterHead in your circle too!!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: MinaLima edition
Even the Kid (not a HP fan – where have I failed???) thinks this is just superb! It’s the Philosopher’s Stone as you’ve never seen it before with simply stunning papercraft embellishments throughout as well as stylish bordered pages, full colour illustrations and arguably the most handsome binding I’ve ever encountered.
My able assistant agreed to show you just a couple of the enchanting surprises. First the entry to the Grynffindor common room – swing the Fat Lady’s portrait out to reveal the interior of the cosy room we all wish we could visit.
Next up this amazing fold out of Diagon Alley – have you got your sickles and galleons ready to spend? Just tap the right brick – away you go!
I suppose you could buy it for a child of your acquaintance – but really I think it will be we adults who will revel in this the most!
Christmas at Hogwarts: a movie scrapbook – Warner Bros
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
RRP: A$29.99 NZ $32.99
Another perfect Christmas gift filled with not only glorious stills from the movies including Harry’s first Christmas at Hogwarts, in The Burrow and the holiday spent in Grimmauld Place but with the most delightful inserts of various kinds: stickers, bookmarks, sketch designs of costumes, concept illustrations as well as other insights.
There are reflections from both the actors and film makers along with special informational pieces on decorating and festive traditions in the magical sphere. Christmas as celebrated by the witches and wizards we’ve come to love like family is a bright and beautiful experience and it would be a very hard-to-please recipient who wouldn’t treasure this for their HP collection.
Needless to say these are staying right on my HP shelf which is fast becoming fuller and fuller – and very likely will continue to do so!!!
But do rush out and buy these for someone you love – trust me, they will be so filled with joy! Thank you again to the lovely Sonia from Bloomsbury who knows me so well!! What a fabulous gift with which to end a year of reviewing for this wonderful publishing company!!
PS – I’m already planning our Harry Potter Night event for the start of Term 1 2021! Let the magic continue to sparkle!
I hadn’t done any knitting for about eight years but these holidays (of stay-at-home instead of the planned week in Thailand) I have been knitting some ANZAC Day poppies as a little project. This sumptuous book is inspiring me further. I’d love to make my own Hedwig! And certainly a Hufflepuff scarf would be a simple and relaxing creation for coming winter days.
Whether you are an experienced knitter or a beginner you will find something here to tackle and add to your vast (or is that just me?) collection of Harry Potter items.
Each project is gloriously photographed and instructions are set out in a very easy to follow manner. For us in Australia, it will take a bit of research to convert the given yarns etc to our standards but I don’t envisage that to be a huge issue.
The book also includes bonus material such as fun facts, behind-the-scenes information, original costume sketches and movie stills all adding to its entirely wonderful content.
Given the parlous times we now find ourselves in and so many outside the home pursuits severely curtailed this is a perfect opportunity to work on some of the older style handcrafts and knitting, which has experienced such a resurgence in recent years, is one of the most soothing and satisfying to be had.
Crafty Creatures: patterns for Hedwig; Cornish Pixies; Fluffy the Three-Headed Dog Wizarding Wardrobe: patterns for Mrs Weasley’s Home-Knit Christmas jumpers; Hogwarts House Scarves; and Hogwarts’ house scarves. Inspired Apparel: clothes and accessories inspired by characters, artefacts and themes from the films such as a Expecto Patronum! mittens and Quidditch socks. Delightful Decor: Dress your home with Harry Potter decorative accessories such as Hogwarts House mug cosies and Seven Horcruxes tea towels.
I promise if I manage to control the poor stiff arthritic fingers and complete something I will share the result!
A must for all HP fans – and really, if you don’t knit (and can’t/won’t learn via YouTube or elsewhere) perhaps you could recruit a handy friend to undertake your choice.
Love it!!!! Get one for your collection and get those needles clicking!
It is quite difficult to describe this book – except of course to say I’m in love with it and being the dedicated Potterhead that I am it’s NOT leaving my shelves!
However I will attempt to convey the sheer delight of it by saying that if you think of something very visual in the books – let’s say the dragons in the forest – you will find a magical 3D paper image of that scene followed by a glorious double spread with loads of information about these amazing animals. Others you will relish are the The Black Lake, the Forbidden Forest and Dark Creatures.
Rather than try to elaborate further take a look at this clip and you will soon get the idea –and the glory of it 😊
Naturally I cannot recommend this highly enough for your own HP devotee…….it’s brilliant!
So last night I took time out from review books to re-read HP & the Philosopher’s Stone – my brand new beautiful Hufflepuff edition. Yes, I’m proud to be a Hufflepuff and yes I do mentally say ‘Alohomora’ every time I unlock a door. I also mentally release my Tonkinese cat patronus when the need arises as one does and tell people to ‘Budge up yer great lump’.
When I finished reading it as I was going to sleep some various thoughts were running through my head. Like many others in the past week and those leading up to anniversary, I’ve read, heard and watched interviews and commentaries from various folks. So I thought why not share my own?
Now the first thing I thought about was the very fundamentalist RE teacher at one state school who wanted the books banned from the library. I’ve worked in many church schools and I do understand if a particular faith objects to magic/witchcraft/etc although I don’t agree with the reasoning. But I do have a real problem indeed quandary about some that allow all other books with witches, wizards, magic and more yet won’t have HP on the shelves. Why is that? I’ll come back to that but it makes me wonder if it’s more like the Enid Blyton blitz back in the day more than the spiritual objection – that somehow because of its popularity there must be something inherently wrong with it.
I thought about that time when my middle daughter and I had been first in the door to buy HP & the Half-blood Prince, binge read it and the next day at a family dinner proceeded to have a very vigorous discussion about our opposing viewpoints on Snape (me maintaining his good guy status, she not and wanting to curse him herself). My dear late mother looked up with great bewilderment and asked, ‘Aren’t these book characters you’re arguing about?’ Hmmm, well yes but they’re like real people you know. This made me think about just how many animated discussions I’ve had over the years with both kids and adults about our favourite characters, incidents etc. Just how many books/series can you say completely and utterly leap the chasm between all ages of readers with such gusto? I know there are critics who claim it is not ‘great literature’. Personally, I’ve seen many books awarded Book of the Year for their literary merit that remain on shelves to gather dust unread until their pages yellow and crumble. I rest my case on those points.
Then I considered the positive values that are so evident throughout the whole series: unconditional friendship, love, loyalty, courage, resilience, initiative, determination, inclusivity, kindness, honesty/truth, self sacrifice, generosity, and compassion – what have I left out here? This compared to the vices which are thwarted at every turn: deceit, treachery, greed, lust for and abuse of power, spite, cowardice, bullying, cruelty, bigotry and callousness. At the very heart of the series is the eternal battle of Good against Evil and the concept that no matter how dark the times, or how overwhelming the enemy or how apparently futile the resistance, the only way to overcome Evil is for each one of us to face up to it. This theme is demonstrated in stories from David and Goliath through to the Narnia stories and Tolkien’s overthrowing of Sauron by two little hobbits. How can this not be pertinent in church school libraries or indeed anywhere we are trying to raise decent human beings who will stand up to be counted against blatant injustice and abuse of position?
The last thing I thought about was JKR’s skill with foreshadowing. I have read some of her ‘back story’ notes made before and during the writing of the books and am so impressed with this seemingly effortless technique. Particularly last night I thought about Neville. Who would have thought that the little round-faced clumsy boy who was always losing his toad and was almost afraid of his own shadow would become the bloody and beaten young man who defiantly challenged Voldemort with nothing more than the Sorting Hat? In this very first book the support and encouragement of his friends to ‘stand up for himself’ (even to their detriment almost!) was the start of the growth and development of Neville’s confidence and self-belief.
All in all, yes I am a dedicated Potterphile and proud to say so for many reasons not just those above and perhaps that as well as these reflections it is pure good fun and every time I re-read I am transported to a magical world that I love – ‘always’.
Our school finishes this term at the end of next week and as the official anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone falls in our holidays, we decided that the library should celebrate for the last two weeks of term.
We wanted our displays to be as interactive as possible so created a Potions class, Charms class, Gringotts bank, SPEW – free the house elves campaign, Quibblers and Daily Prophets to read, a Guess Who game and more. I thank my amazing tech Vilma for her assistance with this (she is just as big a HP fan as I am!). Hope you enjoy our photos from the past week. Most popular are Charms class – with many students practising their wand movements, having their tea leaves ‘read’ (You will have veggies with your dinner tonight” “You will have a bath and put your pyjamas on” etc” and counting the gold in Gringotts Bank!