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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 29, 2015


To kick off the third day of camp, Regina from the Education Department had us dance out words. Our bodies became the pens and we were to react physically to the words or situation being yelled out in the Sharp. It was a great demonstration because we got to see how even small words can carry big emotions.

 We got back to the room to greet our author Soman Chanani, author of The School for Good and Evil. Soman’s book was inspired by classic fairy tales and features two girls–one  training to become a princess, the other an evil villain– whose fortunes get accidentally switched! He showed us trailers for the three books in the series, and talked about some of the fairy tales that inspired him.

Soman asked us about our favorite books  (you have to had read it more than twice!). He told us he was raised on Disney movies because that was a logical way for his parents to entertain him and his brothers. From the age of 6-13, Soman was obsessed with fairy tales. However, it  was only in college where he realized that the real fairy tales were GRIM(M)! Disney princesses and princes get rewarded for making a bad decisions and have a happy ever after. Good is clearly good and bad is devilishly bad. There is no grey scale. Soman wrote his series to explore the grayness of good and evil. Readers cannot be fooled by appearances and “goodness” or “evil”. After explaining in his website with great detail, Soman had us write  and create a course for the School of Good and Evil or create and write a character that would attending the school of good and evil. Then he signed our books, and we each got a copy of the second book in the series.

Lunch was spent under the watchful eye of Joan of Arc but due to the heat, we walked back to Symphony Space and played handshake assassin and Night at the Museum in the Thalia. Some of us opted out of being killed  or playing statues, and read or played card games.

Nicole then had us playing Yankee Swap but with key sentences. Someone would open a present, read the sentence inside, and either could have the next person steal it or open another present with another sentence. When everyone had their desired sentence, Nicole asked us to write a story with our gifted sentence as the first line of our story. This made for creepy to funny story blossom on our pages. We shared our stories and were given free time to keep reading or writing until the end of the day.

Tomorrow we will meet Jude Watson, author of Loot, and have a field trip to the Society of Illustrators! It might rain so make sure to bring something waterproof!

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