We began day 5 of camp by thinking about our favorite words. Using our list of “splendid words” that we’ve been keeping throughout the week, we sorted ourselves into groups and, following the instructions of our “conductor,” said our favorites aloud with varying speed and volume to create a “word orchestra.” Next, we scoured our dictionaries for the most obscure words we could find and, without looking at their definitions, did our best to guess their meanings in a game of “fictionary.”
All of this lead up to our meeting in the Thalia Café with writer and illustrator Chris Raschka, author of today’s book, Seriously, Norman! One of the most interesting things we learned about Chris’s writing process was that he built the story of Seriously, Norman! around certain words he loved and wanted to use. We then decided to try our hand at writing stories based on just a few words — peon, megalopolis, and scabby were the three we chose at random from our dictionary, leading to stories of lowly characters with various injuries on the streets of megalopolises from New York to Atlantis.
Another highlight of our visit with Chris was getting to see some of his artwork. An illustrator of several picture books, Chris showed us a wide range of his drawings and explained that he tells stories not only with words but with pictures. We love hearing about Chris’s other stories, which included the tale of a dog who loses her favorite ball and the saga of a fish who wants nothing more than to be a canned sardine. Finally, Chris consulted us about some of the edits he’s made to the galley of Seriously, Norman! which we read. Our comments and critiques lead to an interesting conversation about timing and plot structure.
After saying goodbye to Chris, we headed to the park for a long lunch and several high-stakes rounds of Capture the Flag. Thankfully the sun was shining for our last day of camp!
Back at Symphony Space, we spent the afternoon debriefing about our experiences with this week’s authors and, of course, playing a few of our favorite games on the stage.
We hope all of you were able to make it to this afternoon’s performance by actors Aya Cash and Jesse Liebman, and got a chance to hear the campers’ work brought to life! We had a great time hearing stories of graveyards and Tibetan deities, beautiful poems, and some hilarious mock commercials all read aloud by actors. It’s been a great week and we can’t believe it’s already over.
If you’re coming back next week, we’re looking forward to seeing you Monday! And if we said goodbye tonight, then have a great summer! We hope to see you next year.