Harry Potter is celebrating a big birthday this year. No, I’m not talking about his 17th birthday, where he’s no longer a magical minor and can use his magic outside of Hogwarts without penalty from the Ministry. I’m talking about his 15th year of being published by Scholastic! I know, I can’t believe it either. I feel like I was just a wee little lass when my best friend told me she had an awesome book I should read and handed over the soft cover edition of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. And, in truth, I was. I was going on 12 and the same age as Harry when I delved into the world of muggles and magic, Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, scars and You-Know-Who.

Reading Harry Potter was somewhat of a life changing experience for me. My friends all read it, devoured it, analyzed it and impatiently waited for each new release like it was Christmas in July. Because, when those new releases did happen, it pretty much was. Waiting up until midnight and heading to the store to get my hands on Harry’s latest adventure was exhilarating! So was staying up way too late to read at least three chapters before heading to bed, not to mention waking up way too early and cracking open my freshly printed, first edition, hard cover before I even got out of bed the next morning. Those summers when a new volume was released were some of my favorite. I pretty much did nothing but eat and read until I was done with the very last page. Sleep was for quitters! I also had to share my copy with my mom and brother, so even if I had wanted to read them slower, it would not have been taken kindly. But, being a fast reader, sometimes I had to wait for what seemed like an excruciating amount of time before I could talk about anything until my friends and I were all literally on the same page.

The great thing about the Harry Potter phenomenon is that it encouraged some people (kids, teens, adults alike) to read. So many people wanted to read these books, share the stories and experience the magic like the rest of us. There was a time where you couldn’t walk anywhere without seeing someone reading one of the seven books in the series. J.K. Rowling is richer than the Queen of England!

So, to celebrate Harry Potter’s 15th Anniversary, Scholastic is re-releasing all seven volumes in soft cover form with new cover art! The first, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will hit shelves in September (seems like forever…) and a boxed set will be released later that same month. The new covers were designed by graphic novel author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi, who is well known for the Amulet series. Each cover is said to depict a scene from the book, instead of hint at plot points to come. The new covers are not meant to replace the original artwork of Mary GrandPre (let’s face it, those covers are pretty much iconic), but they are meant to attract a whole new generation of kids to the fantastical world of Harry Potter. For those of you who may be worried, GrandPre’s original artwork will still appear on the hard cover editions as well as some soft cover, mass-market editions.

I definitely miss Harry Potter. Not only do I miss the story, but I miss the feeling I got while I read those stories. I tell everyone I can who hasn’t read them to get on it. So, I could not be more thrilled to see the world of Harry Potter still thriving. New artwork means new attention, new bookstore shelving and maybe new fans. I can’t wait to share Harry’s adventures with more people, young and old (in fact, funny story, I’ve been hounding my older cousin to read them before her kids do!).

Spun inside those pages are tales of loyalty, friendship, triumphs over evil, tragic heroes and first loves. Spun inside those pages are memories from my childhood and adolescent years that I cherish. I hope a whole new generation of fans can experience what I experienced as I grew up with Harry.

I’ve even decided that if I have kids, I want them to read the books before they see the movies. Good thing I’ve got all my hard cover editions proudly displayed on my bookshelf.

Long live the Boy Who Lived.

Featured Image Via Salon