Week two of the Thalia Book Club Camp began with a few get-to-know-you games on the Symphony Space stage. With Maile Meloy’s The Apothecary in mind, we shared not only our names but our ideal super powers which ranged from flying and invisibility to mind control and the power to talk to cats. Next, we broke into mini book groups to ask questions and share our thoughts about each of this week’s books.
Once we finished our discussions, we tried our first writing exercise: creating a list of words and phrases that we associate with summer and using them to write haikus. Scorched grass, melting ice cream, and the smell of sunscreen were a few of the images we used in our poetry.
For lunch we headed to our usual spot in Riverside Park where we ate in the shade and played a few of our favorite games: Set, Apples to Apples, and capture the flag.
Back at Symphony Space we were very excited to meet Maile Meloy, author of today’s book, The Apothecary. This was the first time Maile presented her new book to a group of readers, and we were thrilled to have the chance to talk to her! Maile is a very successful writer of fiction for adults and The Apothecary is her first book for children. She told us that the experience of writing for a new audience gave her a greater sense of freedom — “the magical elixir of un-selfconsciousness” — and allowed her to explore new sources of inspiration. The Apothecary is set during the Cold War and takes place in Los Angeles, London, and Russia, so we spent the first part of her visit learning about the book’s historical setting. We also spent a considerable amount of time talking about magic, another one of The Apothecary‘s most important elements. Our favorite spells, time travel, and the power to turn into animals were just a few of the topics we addressed.
Finally, Maile asked us to think about our most precious possessions and prompted us to write about what it would feel like to have to give them up. We shared some of our stories aloud and can’t wait to keep working on them!
At the end of the day we all got our copies of The Apothecary signed by Maile. We were very excited to learn that she’s currently working on a sequel and hope to see her again at camp in the future!
Week two of camp got off to a great start and we’re looking forward to tomorrow. See you then!