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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, Week 3, Day 2

Published on August 9, 2011

Today began with a visit from Dave Roman, author and illustrator of the graphic novel
Astronaut Academy, which tells the story of kids who go to school in space. A fan of comic books from a young age, Dave told us that he still draws inspiration from the comic books he read as a kid: Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot, Batman, and Ninja Turtles, among others. In high school, Dave started a comic book club and even wrote a comic book version of Beowulf for his English class.

As a student at the School of Visual Arts, Dave continued making comics and learned that sometimes simple drawings can tell a story even better than ones that are very detailed. Dave published Astronaut Academy this year and is currently working on book two!

We were really interested in learning more about how comics and graphic novels are made, and were excited when Dave gave us the chance to make some comics of our own. Taking Astronaut Academy as an example, we each made up a special school and thought about what classes it would have and what teachers would work there. We then invented two students, a protagonist and an antagonist, and began outlining a story — with illustrations, of course! A school in the clouds, a school for mice, and an underwater school for scuba divers were a few of the ideas we thought up.

After getting our books signed, we all headed to The New York Hall of Science in Queens to learn more about outer space and see some real-life rocket ships.

Dave had another writing activity for us, asking  where we would go if we had a rocket ship. Sitting with our notebooks beneath some enormous rocket engines, we had plenty of inspiration.

Though our visit to the Hall of Science was cut slightly short by the rain, we had a great time exploring the museum with Dave and can’t wait to read his next book.

Back at Symphony Space, we wrapped up the day with some quiet reading, a game of “let the great wind blow” on the stage, and some surprise popsicles.

See you all tomorrow!

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