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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 2011: Last day!

Published on August 12, 2011

We began our last day of camp on the Symphony Space stage, picking up where we left off with our dramatic reading of a scene from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. We then moved downstairs for our visit with Henry Neff, author and illustrator of today’s book, The Tapestry: The Hound of Rowan.

During his presentation, Henry told us the story of how he left the business world to work as a teacher and pursue his dream of writing and illustrating books for young readers. Inspired by some of his favorite books from childhood — the Lord of the Rings trilogy; Dune; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; and Where The Wild Things Are; among others — Henry set out to write a book that mixed fantasy, science fiction, history, and mythology.

In addition to being a very talented writer, Henry is also an illustrator and told us that when developing hischaracters, he often makes sketches of them. This technique, he said, allows him to picture his characters more clearly and gives him a better idea of how he wants to portray them in his writing.

We got the chance to look over a few of Henry’s sketches and talk about what emotions they evoked. As Henry explained, when illustrating, it’s not what you show, but how you show it that matters most.

Before we moved on to a drawing exercise, Henry gave us some advice about how to write a good book: be confident, be receptive to criticism, and, of course, keep reading!

Back in the studio, Henry gave us a quick lesson in drawing characters that express different feelings. We had a lot of fun making up our own characters and experimenting with their emotions.

After saying goodbye to Henry, we took an extra-long lunch break in the park to make the most of the beautiful weather and play a few rounds of capture the flag and Apples to Apples.

We wrapped up the day back at Symphony Space with more games on the stage, one of which included making up Shakespearean style insults, such as: “Fie on thee, thou foul Welsh cheese!” and “Thou art nothing but a reeky, brazen-faced ratsbane!”

Though this was lots of fun, it was soon time to pack up our things and meet our friends and family in the theater for our end-of-the-week performance.

For those of you who made it to the reading of the campers’ writing this afternoon, we hope you enjoyed it! Our performers, Dave Furr and Jen Regan, did a great job reading and we were so impressed by everyone’s work.

It’s been a great three weeks of camp and we can’t believe it’s already over! We hope you all had as much fun as we did.

See you next year!!


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