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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 1 Day 3

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Published on July 16, 2014

On day 3, we were lucky to have not one, not two, but THREE fabulous authors  come to visit. Our morning began with a special activity all about George Hagen’s Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle. The book is about an 11-year old boy named Gabriel who goes on a quest to save his father, and on the way meets a magical raven who helps him solve some really difficult riddles. We pulled out a list of every single riddle in the book, and made skits and mimes to act them out. We went around and performed each of our riddles. Before George’s arrival, we also spent some time reflecting on camp so far.


Mid-morning, we greeted the George Hagen, and even performed a few of our riddles for him, which he greatly appreciated! Then, George started his presentation by telling us about his childhood in Zimbabwe and England, before he moved to the United States. He loved watching Monty Python and listening to the Beatles, and this is how he became obsessed with puns, riddles, and words with double meanings. He also really liked mythology, especially the story of Odin and his ravens Huginn and Muninn, which brought information. George also shared a few secrets with us. We saw the book’s original cover, and learned that he started five different books before he had the idea for Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle. 

After that, George challenged us to make up our own riddles. These are some of the ones we shared:
What walks around but can’t move?” Answer: shoes.
“I can help you, you can share me and give me, but I am not a gift. What am I?” Answer: A clue.
“What’s the difference between a jeweler and a jailer?” Answer: A jailer watches cells, and a jeweler sells watches.

After lunch, we were visited by comic-book duo Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile, and her husband, Dave Roman, author of Astronaut Academy. They began with a few stories about their lives, including how they met at SVA, the only place in the world where you can major in comic books! While they both love comics, Raina always writes  based in reality (Smile is autobiographical), and Dave loves fantasy.
Raina and Dave led a very entertaining character-building activity. We each thought up a character of our creation, deciding on a name, a goal in life, and a greatest fear. We also created a collective character, Cecil, a robot with butterfly wings who loves corndogs. Then, we switched papers, so that another camper was now responsible for writing a script of a comic book about Cecil and our character. After building the first three sections of the comic — the set-up, conflict, and twist — we switched papers again so that a 3rd camper was now the author, who added speech bubbles, sound effects, and the story’s final resolution. As a result, we had 25 unique comics, co-authored by three campers, about different characters and their interactions with Cecil the robot. As one could imagine, it
was a pretty hilarious oeuvre.


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