The Queen of the Tearling, the first book in Erika Johansen's trilogy, will be released in paperback on April 14. The book is set in a seemingly medieval-ish kingdom, but actually takes place three centuries in the future, where an environmental catastrophe leaves everyone in the dark, literally - with no electricity, no technology - for centuries. In an attempt to restore democracy, teenage Kelsea must take over her Tearling kingdom and challenge opposition within her land to restore democracy, as well as face an evil Red Queen who holds considerable power in a neighboring kingdom.
If you have any doubts whether you'll like the story, just take Emma Watson's word for it. She'll be co-producing the film trilogy, along with Harry Potter producer David Heyman. The actress, who will also be starring as Queen Kelsea in the lead role, said, "My agent called and said, 'I have to be honest. This is a trilogy.' I was reluctant, but when I read the book, I really wanted to spend three years in that world. It's going to be intense and I am going to have to get physically very fit, build some muscle and learn how to wield a sword."
The second book in the series, The Invasion of the Tearling, is set to release June 9.
From Lumos --
.K. Rowling today (April 9) lit up the iconic Empire State Building in New York to mark the launch of Lumos USA as part of the NGO's global mission to bring light to the lives of eight million children living in orphanages and institutions around the world.
The world famous author came to America this week with the messages at the heart of Lumos' work – that 80% of children in orphanages are not orphans but have been separated from their families due to poverty, disability, conflict and disasters; and that families are the best place for them to grow up. And in a bid to help shed light on this issue, has written a personal and thought-provoking article on the subject, which is available at www.jkrowling.com
Named after the light-giving spell in the Harry Potter books, Lumos is an international non-profit organization that helps countries reform their services for disadvantaged children, moving from systems based on residential institutions and orphanages that separate children from families to services which support them to stay together in the community.
Lumos' mission draws on decades of scientific evidence, including recently published work by Harvard University, showing that institutions have a negative impact on children's physical, emotional and intellectual development by depriving them of the close, individual care and attention parents provide within a family.
In launching Lumos USA, Patron J.K. Rowling said:
"Children need families, and families need their children and I believe it is entirely possible, with concerted effort, to help to transform the way the world cares for disadvantaged children. We owe this to the eight million children living in orphanages around the world, most of whom do have parents and families who, given the right level of support, could care for them at home."
After a decade working with governments in Central and Eastern Europe to help them to close down State-run institutions for children and create new services that support vulnerable children stay with families, Lumos is now also working to address the use of largely privately-funded orphanages, which is increasing in many parts of the world. Lumos has recently begun to work in the Latin America and Caribbean region, focusing on Haiti, where more than 30,000 children live in orphanages, but at least 80% of them NOT orphans.
Encouraging reform of the funding that supports orphanages is a key part of Lumos' work. It has played an important role in influencing the way that European Union aid is now spent - to support community services for children and families, not to build or renovate institutions and orphanages. Lumos USA will build on this advocacy activity by working with US Government departments – including the US Agency for International Development – and bodies such as the World Bank to promote a similar funding principle. The right of children to live in families is one of the core principles of the US Government's Action Plan on Children in Adversity.
Georgette Mulheir, the Chief Executive of Lumos – who last year was named by a prestigious US academic website as one of the world's 30 most influential social workers – said:
"The USA, its citizens and, indeed, the international community have a huge role to play to influence the agenda on children outside of family care. Foreign policy, development aid and individual giving can help shape the future for vulnerable children and their families in a sustainable way, ensuring that no child is denied the right to family life."
The United Nations is currently creating a set of post-2015 'Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs) – a set of aspirations and principles, which will influence how billions of dollars in aid are used around the world. Early drafts have stressed the importance of child health, development, education, and protection, but does not recognize that a family is the only effective way of providing those vital elements.
In order to support Lumos' campaign to draw attention to the omission of families within the SDGs, J.K. Rowling wrote privately in March to leading figures in the United Nations, urging them to recognize the vital role of families and include targets for a significant reduction of numbers of children outside family care in the SDGs.
To celebrate the launch of Lumos Foundation USA, Lumos is raising funds to reunite children with families. For the next month, Lumos USA will run an online sweepstakes giving every eligible US resident who donates over $10, the opportunity to win one of four generously donated prizes: two signed copies of J.K. Rowling's 'Very Good Lives' ; a VIP trip for four to Universal Orlando Resort to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; and tickets to Comic Con in San Diego in July 2015.
One hundred percent of all donations to Lumos go directly towards their projects on the ground.
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Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children's publishing, education and media company, today released the exclusive cover image of the fully illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling’s bestselling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
. Bloomsbury UK also revealed the image simultaneously. Illustrated by award-winning artist, Jim Kay, the cover is an image of Harry Potter on Platform 9 ¾ surrounded by witches and wizards, trunks and owls, about to board the Hogwarts Express for the first time and is available for download at http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/harrypotter
The illustrated hardcover edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will be published globally on October 6, 2015, and Scholastic plans to publish fully illustrated editions—one per year—of each of the seven titles. Over 450 million of the Harry Potter books have sold worldwide and the series continues to appear on bestseller lists in the U.S.
About Jim Kay
Jim Kay won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012 for his illustrations in A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Jim studied illustration at the University of Westminster and since graduating has worked in the Archives of Tate Britain and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Jim has produced concept work for television and contributed to a group exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He now lives and works in Northamptonshire, England, with his partner and a rescued greyhound.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology and related services and children's media. Scholastic creates quality books and ebooks, print and technology-based learning materials and programs, magazines, multi-media and other products that help children learn both at school and at home. The Company distributes its products and services worldwide through a variety of channels, including school-based book clubs and book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, on-air, and online at www.scholastic.com.
From Warner Bros. --
This March, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is unveiling a 20,000 square foot expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. The new, permanent section offers a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created as well as giving visitors the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.
Throughout the Harry Potter film series, British steam train no. 5972, ‘Olton Hall’, was used at the Hogwarts Express. Scenes featuring the working engine – including the very last scene to be shot, in which a grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione wave their own children off as they head to school – were filmed on a soundstage at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and on a track running the full length of the Studios’ 100-acre backlot. The 78-year-old maroon engine is returning to the series’ production home this spring, displayed on a realistic set of tracks with whistles sounding and steam billowing as visitors step onto the platform.
Platform 9 ¾ is officially open on Thursday 19th March. The new, must-see section has been redesigned and was built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass ceiling, red brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Production Designer Stuart Craig, was painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson, who won a BAFTA for his work on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, has rigged the locomotive with special effects steam.
Visitors can walk along the train’s adjoining carriage and sit in the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack). A selection of prop luggage is on show and visitors can find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more). A train-themed souvenir shop will also be open on the platform, stocking a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express.
Sarah Roots, Vice President of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “We can’t wait to open our first expansion, Platform 9 ¾, just before the Studio Tour’s third anniversary in March. The Hogwarts Express had a starring role in the films so we’re excited that it will be taking centre stage in the new area. It’s the piece that visitors have most requested to have added and we’re expecting a fantastic response.”
Stuart Craig, Production Designer on all eight Harry Potter films, added: “The Hogwarts Express was the setting for many iconic scenes, from Harry, Hermione and Ron’s first meeting in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the moment the trio’s children embark on their first journey to school 25 years later. The wizarding world doesn’t really have a need for modern technology so we knew a traditional steam engine would make the perfect school train. We scoured the country and found ‘Olton Hall’ at a preservation centre in Lancashire; realising pretty quickly that it was exactly what we had been looking for.”