J.K. Rowling drops new surprise chapter book The Ickabog online free
When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wizarding World has really pulled through. From the Harry Potter at Home portal to the free weekly readings of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, we really gotta hand it to the J.K. Rowling empire for making quarantine life a little easier to bear. Following in her generous literary footsteps, the prolific Brit author just announced that she’s been writing a kid’s chapter book called The Ickabog for the last ten years and is finally releasing it (for free) online.
On her website, Rowling announced that she first started writing the book “in fits and starts” while she was “between Potter books.” Eventually, she shelved the book, writing that “the first draft of The Ickabog went up into the attic, where it’s remained for nearly a decade. Over time I came to think of it as a story that belonged to my two younger children, because I’d read it to them in the evenings when they were little.”
However, when the pandemic hit, she thought that kids stuck at home during lockdowns might like to read or have The Ickabog read to them too.
“A few weeks ago at dinner, I tentatively mooted the idea of getting The Ickabog down from the attic and publishing it for free, for children in lockdown. My now teenagers were touchingly enthusiastic, so downstairs came the very dusty box, and for the last few weeks I’ve been immersed in a fictional world I thought I’d never enter again,” Rowling wrote.
The Ickabog, (which Rowling made clear is not a Harry Potter spinoff) is for kids aged 7 to 9 to read to themselves or for parents to read to younger children, and although Rowling describes the book as “a story about truth and the abuse of power” — which she’s well aware hits very close to home for many of us — she says 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.”
Rowling will post a new chapter every weekday from today, May 26th, until July 10th, and not only is this free e-book a COVID-19 treat for young readers, but Rowling pledged that all author royalties from The Ickabog, when published, will go to groups particularly affected by the pandemic.
She’s also taking submission from kid artists to illustrate the book. Yes, really. If your kid’s art is chosen, it will appear in the November 2020 print, eBook, and audiobook formats. Parents can submit artwork and read the first two chapters of The Ickabog on the official website now.