Hillsboro fourth-grader's drawing featured in J.K. Rowling's new book
On a typical evening this summer, 9-year-old Kinza Arik was at home in Hillsboro watching a movie with her younger sister when she heard her mother shouting her name.
"All of a sudden, my mom comes jumping down the stairs, saying, 'You won! You won!'" Arik said of her mother, Anam.
She learned that she was one of 34 winners whose drawings had been picked out of more than 42,000 entries across the U.S. and Canada to be published in J.K. Rowling's new children's book, "The Ickabog."
The book was officially released Nov. 10. Although Rowling has released a play and companion volumes to the "Harry Potter" series, "The Ickabog" is her first children's book published since the last Harry Potter book came out.
Hoping to involve children stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rowling and publishing company Scholastic periodically released chapters of the book over seven weeks this summer, inviting kids to submit illustrations, which would ultimately be featured in the final published book.
It was Arik's morning ritual to read parts of the book at breakfast, her mother said.
When two previous drawings Arik submitted weren't featured on a shoutout page online for the competition, she didn't think her drawings would win anything.
But she tried extra hard on a final drawing, which will likely be seen around the world — the book is currently a #1 The New York Times bestseller.
"I really put my effort into it," Arik said.
The book is a fairytale about a small, happy kingdom called Cornucopia famous for its delicious food. But a legend tells of a fire-breathing, poison-spitting monster— the Ickabog — that lurks nearby. When the book's main characters Bert and Daisy embark on a journey to find out where the monster lives, "the myth takes on a life of its own," according to Scholastic.
Arik chose to depict the character Ma Grunter in her winning drawing. The character runs an oppressive orphanage where Daisy winds up.
Rowling's detailed description of Ma Grunter made Arik want to draw it, she said.
"She has a very long pointy nose and chin, and J.K. Rowling said it very distinctly, she has a really big wart with hair sticking out of her nose. I thought that was pretty funny," Arik said.
Her drawing also shows a quote bubble with Ma Grunter saying, "Your name is Jane and your father is dead!" — a line said to Daisy. Ma Grunter refers to all the girls at the orphanage as "Jane" and to all the boys as "John" to "break their spirits," Arik said.
Arik's mom said her daughter's love of books is endless, adding that she has read all of the Harry Potter books twice and often runs out of books to read at their house. Arik said her favorite book in the series is "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."
Arik said the first person she called when she learned she won the competition was her grandmother because she is also an avid reader who loves the Harry Potter books.
Friends have been asking for Arik to give them signed copies of the new book, she said, adding that she'll have to wait until the pandemic is under control before she can sign them.
Arik, a fourth-grader, whose parents opted to homeschool their children due to the pandemic, said she got a rush of pride when she was shopping with her family and saw the recently released book on the shelves.
"It was really a lot of fun to do," Arik said. "I'm very happy my drawing was picked."
In addition to having her drawing in the book and getting a copy signed by Rowling, Arik was able to choose a school or library to receive $650 worth of books donated by Scholastic. She chose the Hillsboro School District's Free Orchards Elementary School.
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