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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 2 Day 1

Published on July 20, 2015


Week 2 of Thalia Book Club Camp has arrived! We started the morning on the Sharp stage playing name games. There were returning campers from Week 1, familiar faces from previous years, and first-time campers, so it was fun to get to know each other all over again. As an ice breaker, Madeline, our teaching artist this week, had us stand in a circle and list some of our favorite books. We learned that we had much more in common with each other than we thought! Some of the most popular books were The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Giver, Wonderstuck, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Percy Jackson series, A Mango Shaped Space, The Tale of Despereaux, Brown Girl Dreaming, and The Ranger’s Apprentice series.

We also did book cover jigsaw puzzles of this week’s books. Then it was time to get into our book club discussion groups. Just like last week, we spent 3-5 minutes visiting each group and talking about all the books we read and authors we’ll be meeting. We came up with great questions to ask the authors as the week goes on.


Because of the heat, we had a quick lunch in the park and then came back to play more games or read quietly. We played Assassins, Sushi Go, Night at the Museum, Apples to Apples, and cards.

After lunch it was time to meet our first author, Dan Poblocki, who was here to talk about his book The Book of Bad Things. Dan’s book is a ghost story about a girl who writes down in her diary everything she’s afraid of. She encounters a haunted house where the townspeople have been entering and leaving… as zombies! Needless to say, Dan’s book is really scary. We started off comparing some of our favorite fairy tales to horror stories and found out that sometimes fairy tales are scarier than they seem!


Dan told us that he grew up in a haunted house and shared some of his spookiest stories, some of which later inspired his books. We did a writing exercise where we invented our own ghosts, and came up with some wacky ones. There was a ghost who smells like candy and haunts the sewers, a gnome-ghost named Bob who could change gender, and an albino ghost who had some unfinished business.  Then we each thought of one twist for our ghost — a characteristic or situation than changed our expectations of the ghost. Finally, Dan showed us a slideshow of pictures he took with his magic ghost-hunting camera. He has found ghosts all over the world– from Queens to London! Then he signed our books and took a group photo with us!

It was a great first day. Tomorrow we’ll meet Jacqueline Kelley, author of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, and take a field trip to the Museum of Natural History!

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