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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, Day 3

Published on July 27, 2011

We kicked off day 3 with drama exercises in the theater which challenged us to express with our words and our body language some of the emotions felt by the characters in today’s book, Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon.

The book’s major themes — friendship, fitting in, being yourself, and dealing with loss — were all things we discussed in greater detail with Kekla herself, as well as some of the book’s many difficult questions: How do you know who your real friends are? What does it mean to be a good friend? What does it mean to be loyal? When should we tell someone else’s secret?

We had a lot of questions about the book, some of which Kekla purposely left unanswered. She told us that she doesn’t like to give too many details about her characters so that the reader’s imagination can fill in the blanks. She also said that sometimes she doesn’t know why she makes certain choices when writing and that often times it’s more fun to leave a book’s mysteries unresolved.

After the Q&A (in which the campers had shared enough technical observations about the book for Kekla to comment, “You all have futures as copy editors!”), we got back on stage for some “readers’ theater” and acted out one of Camo Girl‘s key scenes. Next, we all collaborated to create a character of our own, keeping in mind that the characters in Camo Girl have two layers, the one they show the world and the one they keep inside. The result: Bob, the 500 year-old, bearded skateboarder living a double life as a ballet dancer and aquaphobe.

Anxious to enjoy today’s beautiful weather, we then headed to the park with Kekla to have lunch.

In the afternoon we returned to our scenes that we’d begun writing in the morning and expanded them so that they told a whole story. We brought to life scenes of roller coaster rides gone wrong, treacherous ice cream men, scaring monsters out of the closet, and being the new kid on the first day of school.

Then, with the time that remained, we switched genres and learned to write cinquaines, five line poems beginning and ending with a single word. It was a great way to end what turned out to be a day of prolific writing! We can’t wait to hear some of today’s pieces read aloud on Friday.





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