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Thalia Book Club Camp offers up-close interaction with renowned children's book authors and illustrators, book discussions, and book-related field trips around the city. This blog follows the camp's activities.

Thalia Kids’ Book Club Camp – Week 2 Begins

Published on August 10, 2009

Week 2 of the Thalia Kids’ Book Club Camp started today with the arrival of a brand new batch of campers, as well as a few familiar faces of those who were here last week. After some quick introductions and a warm up, we had our first visit of the week with Michael Winerip, author of Adam Canfield of the Slash, the first of three novels about a student investigative reporter who uncovers major stories for his school’s newspaper, The Slash.

Campers' copies of "Adam Canfield of The Slash"

Campers' copies of Adam Canfield of the Slash

We learned from Michael that Adam Canfield is his first published book, and that he is actually a writer and reporter for the New York Times. He started writing for publications in school, where he wrote for his high school newspaper and college newspaper before becoming a reporter for the Times. Then, Michael told us, a few years ago, he turned down an offer to be a foreign correspondent – and to go to places all over the world – to write a kid’s book! That’s when he started working on Adam Canfield.

We then talked to Michael about the long process of trying to get Adam Canfield published after finishing a draft of the book. Having sent his manuscript to six publishers at a time, Michael’s story was rejected a total of twenty-four times before it was finally bought! The publisher that bought it, however, wanted not just one book about Adam Canfield, but three. The first and second Adam Canfield books are currently in stores, but the third, Michael said, isn’t due out for another two months.

Michael also told us about how the main characters in his book are based on the personalities and certain traits of his own children – the character Adam is like his son, who is dreamy and spacey, and Pheobe is like his daughter, who is tough and stands up for herself. Drawing from his own life experiences, Michael tapped not only into the people around him but also his past newspaper articles to create characters and a narrative. He even showed us real, printed articles from the NY Times that he had written – one going as far back as 1975 – that he worked into Adam Canfield as stories for The Slash.

Michael Winerip talking to campers about "Adam Canfield"

Michael Winerip talking to campers about Adam Canfield


Michael showing us drafts of book covers for the second book

To test out our reporting skills, Michael then took us across the street to Key West Diner, to interview the manager about the restaurant. Michael helped us prepare some questions to ask – the first of which should always be: “What is your name, and how do you spell it?” So we met Eddie Fernandez, manager, who answered all of our questions, from, “Which are Key West’s most popular dishes?” to “Have you ever had to kick anyone out of the diner?” We even interviewed some customers, who are regulars at the restaurant, about their favorite menu items, their favorite seat, and whether anything out of the ordinary has ever happened there. Needless to say, we learned a lot about Key West Diner!

Campers prepare questions for Eddie on their reporter's notebooks

Campers prepare questions for Eddie, Key West Diner's manager in their reporter's notebooks

Michael helping us interview Eddie, the restaurant manager

Michael helping us interview Eddie

Taking notes from the interview

Taking notes from the interview


After asking all of our questions, we left the Key West Diner and headed back to Symphony Space, where Michael surprised us with early galley copies of Adam Canfield: The Last Reporter, the third of the Adam Canfield series which isn’t due out until October! He then signed all of our books before we gathered for a group photo with our new Adam Canfield novels.

Campers line up to get their copies of "Adam Canfield" signed

Campers line up to get their copies of Adam Canfield signed

Michael signing copies of his novel

Michael signing copies of his novel

Michael posing with the campers

Michael posing with the campers

Check out this blog tomorrow night for another update on the Thalia Kids’ Book Club Camp – we’ve got another exciting line-up of authors and activities for tomorrow! Meanwhile, we asked our campers to share their favorite book with us, so that we can share them with you.  Check them out:

Ally – The Twlight series, by Stephenie Meyer, and the Kiki Strike series, by Kirsten Miller
Ariel – The Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan
Eilam – The Looking Glass Wars series, by Frank Beddor
Emily – A Mango-Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass
Erica – The Gallagher Girls series, by Ally Carter
Fiona – The Warriors series, by Erin Hunter
Fred – The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
Gabrielle – The Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan
Jack – Airman, by Eoin Colfer
Jad – The Warriors Super Edition: Bluestar’s Prophecy, by Erin Hunter
Julia – A Mango-Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass
Lizzy – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
Mae – The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
Marian – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Maya F. – The Mysterious Benedict Society series, by Trenton Lee Stewart
Maya G. – The Emerald City of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
Olivia – Powerless, by Matthew Cody
Sofia – Saffy’s Angel, by Hilary McKay
Sylvie – A Mango-Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass
Xin – Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
Zara – The Otherworldlies, by Jennifer Anne Kogler

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