LEWISTON — She’d ordered the cauldrons but had yet to give the exploding polyjuice potion a test run.

Mary Randall figured she had a little time to fit that in before leading Saturday’s Potions Class at the Lewiston Public Library.

Twelve copies of J.K. Rowling’s eighth book, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” were already in the building — so close — and yet their official release, so far.

“It’s downstairs now, taunting us,” joked fellow library technician and Potter aficionado Danielle Fortin.

Rowling’s latest book in the Harry Potter series, a script of the new play by the same name, drops at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and local readers are stoked.

“People are super excited about it,” said Pam Morris, store manager of the Auburn Mall Books-A-Million, which is holding a release party Saturday night. “It’s Harry Potter. He’s literally the boy who will never die.”

Randall is 24. Her mother started reading the series to her when she was 9.

“What J.K. Rowling did so well was that she aged the books with her readers — everything became a little more dark, a little more real,” Randall said. “As much as it can be real with dragons.”

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” picks up 19 years after “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Harry’s married, a working wizard and a dad.

“A lot of people who followed it right along just want the next installment,” said Erica Jed, the owner of Books N Things in Norway. “There’s a new generation that’s starting right at the beginning and reading through them. It’s capturing that audience, too.”

She also has planned a release party. Happi Chicks Bake Shop is baking Harry-themed treats and party-goers can make wands, sorting hats and origami owls.

“At 12:01, we can sell the books,” Jed said. The release date, July 31, “is Harry Potter’s birthday.”

The original series, which started with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in 1997, were the right reads at the right time, Jed said.

“I just think it came along at a time when children’s literature was kind of flat and it just piqued people’s interest,” she said. “It was so different from anything before that had been directed at kids — (Rowling) has such an imagination and doesn’t really speak down to the kids.”

Karin Schott, assistant manager at Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers in Farmington and the mother of a 23-year-old, said many of the people she’s seen in the store excited about the new release are around the same age as her son.

“I think there are some universal themes in the book about accepting others’ differences that are still relevant, if not more relevant today,” Schott said. “And everybody likes magic.”

For her Potions Class, Randall planned to walk a dozen children through the steps of mixing exploding polyjuice potion. It involves hydrogen peroxide, liquid dishwasher soap, water, yeast and a bit of glitter. 

“I’m probably going to be the one having the most fun,” she said.

Randall and Fortin hope to collaborate this winter on a larger, Harry-themed event at the library.

“(The books have) something that everybody can kind of identify with,” said Fortin, 35.

Harry isn’t perfect and neither are his friends. They need and rely on each other.

“Like every girl, reading Hermione’s character was so empowering for me — she knew stuff and she didn’t apologize for it,” Randall said.

The library’s copies will be available for checkout on Monday. But Fortin has pre-ordered “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” for her Kindle.

“I will probably start reading it at midnight,” she said.

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‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ events 

Where: Books N Things, 430 Main St., Norway

What: Release party, Saturday, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Find Harry-theme snacks and make wands, sorting hats and origami owls. Wizarding dress-up optional. Books will be sold beginning at 12:01 a.m.

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Where: Books-A-Million, Auburn Mall

What: Release party, Saturday, 9-11 p.m.

Find Harry-themed coloring, trivia, a photo booth and a costume contest. Books will be sold at 12:01 a.m.

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Where: Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, 193 Broad St., Farmington

What: Early opening Sunday at 10 a.m. for people to grab the book, and Harry will co-star in the shop’s annual “Where’s Waldo” party at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Find cake, ice cream and coloring.

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Where: Lewiston Public Library

What: Saturday’s Potions Class is already full, but call 513-3133 to get on a waiting list for last-minute cancellations or to request more Harry-inspired programming in the future.


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