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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 Book Club Camp: Wednesday

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Published on August 11, 2010

Another amazing day at Camp!

Today we met Polly Shulman, author of The Grimm Legacy, who took us to the New York Public Library and talked to us about  her process as a writer and led us in a few exercises related to her book.

In the morning, we played a game involving grouping small objects to mimic some of the plot of The Grimm Legacy. The kids had a great time making categories for things like pocket watches, buttons, and general knick-knacks and various bric-a-brac. Everyone had a different interpretation of the object groups, which made the experience really interesting and set the kids up for their time with Polly Shulman.

Polly Shulman arrived soon after and we began talking about her novel The Grimm Legacy. She engaged the kids by asking them about their spirits of adventure. She asked if they’d go on an exciting adventure even if it meant facing such horrible dangers as giant pits of molten lava. The kids proved to be quite an adventurous bunch, but what they would do depended on the circumstances of the quest. Next we discussed whom we would bring along on our adventure– siblings and best friends proved popular choices–and even gave one of Polly’s new characters a name (Leo!).  Polly led us in a group writing project in which each camper wrote a short fantasy piece about a commonplace object, very much in the style of The Grimm Legacy. The kids wrote some amazing stuff about everything from a calculator to a kaleidescope.

With tummies growling, we headed to the park for lunch. The ritual game of Capture the Flag turned into Sam vs. 16 campers, and even Polly watched the spectacle that ensued.

We returned to camp, recharged, and wrote a few quick cinquaine poems about all sorts of topics, including falafel and onomatopoeia. (You will hear samples of all of today’s writing at Friday’s reading!) Next, we headed out for the library. After a quick subway ride, we mounted the historic steps and met up with Betsy Bird, the children’s librarian. She talked to us briefly about the history of the library and the children’s section. Next she introduced us to a teen page. This was extremely relevant to The Grimm Legacy because the author’s own experiences as a teen page inspired a lot of incidents in the book. We got to ask the page lots of questions about the secret life of the stacks (the powerhouse of the library) and the eccentricities of library work. We ended our trip with an insider tour of the library and headed back to camp.


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