Local student’s drawing published in Rowling’s newest book

34 children's drawings included in The Ickabog

34 children's drawings included in The Ickabog

I edited two books written by a local author and then found my wonderful illustrator online. I learned book publishing is not for the faint-hearted. 

Writing books is tough. Publishing books isn’t easy. And promoting books is the biggest challenge.

I give credit to J.K. Rowling and her publisher Scholastic on the unleashing of J.K. Rowling’s newest children’s book, The Ickabog.

Early during the pandemic, she released the beginning chapters to kids. She invited children ages 7 to 12 years old to submit illustrations based on the text. She received 42,000 pieces of art from children in the US and Canada from which 34 winners were chosen.

A separate call for entries was issued in the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Australia and New Zealand. It attracted another 18,000 submissions which illustrates the British edition with a second set of 34 winners.

Without any promotion she had a ready-made audience of 60,000 readers and their friends.

To see the winning illustrations visit https://www.theickabog.com/en-us/competition/

The story, which takes place in a kingdom known for its delicious food but threatened by the mythic monster of the title, was developed from a bedtime tale Rowling told her own children. (Reminds me of the Winnie the Pooh saga where A. A. Milne told stories to his son which he later published.)

Of the winners, two are from New York. 

One winner is Isla Besha, a 12-year-old Altamont resident and student at Woodland Hill Montessori School. Isla's image is of King Fred the Fearless — the monarch of the land of Cornucopia — in bed, with covers pulled up to his mustache.

According to the video taped by the Times Union newspaper, Isla said that Rowling gave them tips on the type of illustrations they might consider developing. And since this young illustrator loved doing figures, she chose to tackle the drawing of King Fred in bed.

Interviews with Isla below: