It seems Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer are not the only popular authors to bring out free online children books during the lockdown. JK Rowling has announced she is releasing The Ickabog online for children, and the first two chapters are online now starting with King Fred the Fearless, the ruler of Cornucopia, and introduces five-year-old Bert Beamis.

And is that is not good enough, there is a drawing competition for the chance to have your illustrations in the book when published in November. It’s a fantastic gift to kids and came to life a decade ago when Rowling wrote the story intending to publish it after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She used to read the story to her own young children and decided to keep it a precious family memory instead. It was then stored away while she concentrated on her novels for adults under the pen name Robert Galbraith instead.

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Rowling has now decided to release the book for families and children in lockdown. Working with her now teenage children to finish the book, she took their feedback on board to ensure it encaptured the childhood magic. She has confirmed that it is a story about truth and the abuse of power, so has a moral undertone which she at pains confirmed is not connected to recent events.

The standalone story is about rumours in the imaginary land known as Cornucopia of a fierce child-eating monster with extraordinary powers, the Ickabog. The target audience is 7 to 9-year-olds who can read this themselves, and is not about magic like the Harry Potter series of books. Chapters will be released from now until 10th July.

Chapters will be released from now until 10th July. Rowling is well known for her philanthropy and charity donations and has announced all royalties from this book will go to coronavirus sufferers.

Rowling wrote the Harry Potter fantasy series, the best-selling book series in history selling more than 500 million copies. Well known for her philanthropy and charity donations, she announced all royalties from this book will go to coronavirus sufferers.

Chapter 1 of The Ickabog extract:

Once upon a time, there was a tiny country called Cornucopia, which had been ruled for centuries by a long line of fair-haired kings. The king at the time of which I write was called King Fred the Fearless. He’d announced the ‘Fearless’ bit himself, on the morning of his coronation, partly because it sounded nice with ‘Fred’, but also because he’d once managed to catch and kill a wasp all by himself, if you didn’t count five footmen and the boot boy.

 

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