San Diegan Selznick tapped to illustrate covers of 20th anniversary Harry Potter books
New paperback editions of the wildly popular Harry Potter novels — scheduled for release this summer to mark the 20th anniversary of the first book’s publication in the United States — will have a San Diego flavor.
Illustrator Brian Selznick, who splits his time between La Jolla and Brooklyn, is doing the covers.
“I am a big Harry Potter fan and it is an incredible honor to illustrate J.K. Rowling’s iconic series,” Selznick said in a written statement. “I am thrilled to play a part in this exciting 20th anniversary celebration and look forward to meeting Harry Potter fans and readers across the country.”
Selznick is best known for his book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” which won the Caldecott Medal for “most distinguished American picture book” in 2008 and was the basis for the Martin Scorsese film “Hugo,” which won five Academy Awards.
Among his many other books are “Wonderstruck,” which was turned into a 2017 film of the same name, and “The Marvels.” All three form a kind of loose trilogy that speaks to the importance of family and the need to belong — key themes in the Potter books, too.
“Brian Selznick, with his unique and cinematic approach, is a visionary and the perfect artist to illustrate these new Harry Potter editions,” said Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade, which is publishing the books.
For those who remain under the spell of all things Harry Potter, it may be hard to believe that it’s been two decades since the first book in the seven-novel series, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” was published in the U.S.
Each subsequent book sparked a frenzy — midnight parties at bookstores, kids staying up all night to read — and the series eventually sold more than 160 million copies in the U.S. and more than 450 million copies worldwide. The books have been published in more than 80 languages and have spawned movies, a play that opens on Broadway in April, and museum exhibits.
The Selznick-illustrated paperbacks are scheduled to come out in July. He is also designing a collectible boxed set that is scheduled for September.
Selznick is married to David Serlin, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at UC San Diego. They’ve co-authored an illustrated book for beginning readers, “Baby Monkey, Private Eye,” which is due out next month.
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