Bringing “The Ickabog” to Life: Young Illustrators Selected for UK, US Editions

For seven weeks during the height of lockdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, children around the world were able to let their imaginations run free.

As J.K. Rowling released chapter after chapter of her new children’s book, The Ickabog, online between May 26 and July 10, the author invited young readers to illustrate the story as they went along. The results, shared frequently on Twitter, ranged from hilarious to eerie to poignant and gave participating children the opportunity to create characters as they saw them in their minds rather than reproducing an already-established image.

Budding artists ranging in age from 7 to 12 had added incentive: Rowling pledged to select illustrations for the eventual books – United States and United Kingdom editions – from among those submitted. And the winning drawings have now been announced!

The official Ickabog website released the names of the 68 children – 34 apiece for the two editions – whose work would be featured in the books on Thursday, thanking all who shared their drawings with the world.

The quality, diversity and sheer imagination of the children’s artwork was incredible to see. Thank you to everyone who participated in [the] ‘Ickabog’ illustration competition, and congratulations to the 34 winners.

Illustrators for the UK edition hailed from Australia, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, and the UK and were chosen from more than 18,000 submissions.



US edition illustrators were selected from more than 42,000 entries from Canada and the US.



Both editions of The Ickabog are scheduled for release November 10 by publishers Scholastic and Hachette Children’s UK and are available for preorder now. The winning artists will receive a free copy of the published book, signed by Rowling, along with $650 (£500) worth of Scholastic or Hachette children’s books for the school or public library of their choice.


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Brienne Green

I'm a passionate journalist, feeding my wizarding world obsession on MuggleNet by night, forever trying to find ways to work "Potter" references into high school sports stories by day. When not writing, I can be often be found making quiche at 2 a.m., playing Queen tunes on the piano, or talking (and talking and talking) about Sirius Black.