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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 3

Published on July 30, 2014

We began this morning with several engaging activities in the Thalia theater at Symphony Space, before greeting today’s author Henry Clark, author of What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World. After a brief discussion about Henry’s book, he pulled out a mysterious pillow case which was meant to represent “the sofa” from the book. One by one, we each reached our hands into the pillow case and pulled out one of many surprising, weird, silly, wacky, and funny objects. For example… a remote control, a wallet, a tiny doll, a plastic dinosaur, a heart-shaped bell, a USB drive, and more, until we each had our very own object that we had “found in the sofa.” We then gathered into groups of three and put our brains and objects together to write a story and/or skit that included all three objects and people. We spread out in the classroom and put ourselves to work creating inventive narratives from what we found in the sofa.

After our hard work writing stories and skits, we headed back to the Thalia and every group performed their hilarious plays. It was pretty interesting to see how what we found in the sofa inspired villains, friends, pasta, robbers, love potions, magic remote controls, and other multifarious tales.




After our rousing performances, we lined up to all get our books signed with Henry, and then bid him farewell. We went out again to our nearby park for lunch and more Capture the Flag and Apples to Apples, our favorite lunchtime games.


This afternoon, we met with illustrator Sophie Blackall — Sophie has worked on many projects, including newspapers, magazines, friends’ tattoos, Missed Connections, and over twenty books for children. She also drew the well-known subway mural.


Sophie started her presentation with pictures of all the books she’s illustrated. She also showed us a commercial she animated, and the Missed Connections poster she made for the subway. She talked about her creative process, and how she is often inspired by things she finds on the ground, conversations she overhears, or paintings she sees at museums. Her work has lead to all kinds of interesting opportunities, including two trips to Africa, where she made illustrations to promote vaccinations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and brought books to schoolchildren in Rwanda. Sophie told us that she uses her drawings as a way to communicate with the people she meets all over the world.


Then, we played a game that Sophie called a combination of Telephone and Exquisite Corpse. We wrote a sentence on a piece of paper, then passed it to our neighbor, who illustrated that sentence, who folded it and passed it to someone else. The next person had to write a sentence based only on the illustration, and then pass it on again to someone who would draw a new picture, and so forth. By the end, our sentences had changed a lot! Some of our favorites:  “A mouse is swimming” became “A platypus looks at the sky” and “The sun came out at midnight” became “The sun is confused by a mean, bald man.”
We also drew our own subway poster, and filled it with all kinds of interesting characters. Then Sophie signed books and drew pictures of us!

Day 3 was a major success. Tomorrow morning we’ll be leaving early in the morning for the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to kick off our second-to-last day. See you then!


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