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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 2

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Published on July 28, 2015

Another day of camp under our belts! We started the morning on the Sharp stage, playing “Where the Great Wind Blows.” Then, our teaching artist Nicole, had us do a really fun writing activity. We listened to 5 songs, and used them to inspire a story. For each song, we came up with a character, a location, and an activity that somehow fit the music. The music inspired things we never would have come up with on our own– a priest chanting a spell, a older man starting a rock and roll band, surfing in the summer, and a mystery set on a soccer field.

Soon it was time to meet Lauren Oliver, author of the new series The Curiosity House. The book is about a group of orphans, each with a special ability, growing up in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. Lauren was inspired to write this after seeing postcards from old dime museums. She found images of bearded ladies, snake charmers, shrunken heads, and other objects and characters that were once considered strange and exotic. She also met a man named H.G. Chester who collected all sorts of mysterious objects and helped her develop her story. She told us that since books have the power to transport us to different places, we can think of authors as magicians.

Lauren brought us four objects — a horse, a piranha, a monkey, and a dragon’s foot, and had us write stories about the mysterious and magical properties of these objects. We each came up with some wacky (and really scary) stories! Lauren also let us on to a little secret, which she calls ‘The Golden Sentence.’ The Golden Sentence is essentially a template that all the best stories in the world can be boiled down to. It looks like this: [Main character] must [perform an action] in order to [accomplish something] before [something bad happens] or else [face a consequence]. If we can format our ideas to fit this sentence and fill in the brackets, then we have a great story on our hands! As always, we finished up with a book signing and a group photo!


Because of the heat advisory, we had lunch in the cafe, and then went back to the stage to play some indoor games. Some played freeze tag and handshake murder (which is becoming the camp favorite!), while others read. Then we hopped on the bus for a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

At the Met, we visited the Ancient Egypt exhibit. Inspired by The Curiosity House, which features a stolen shrunken head, we looked at a bunch of ancient objects, and read about or imagined what kind of mysterious pasts the objects might have had. Then we imagined that were treasure thieves, and we came up with colorful ways to steal these magic objects. How could we disguise these objects and sneak them past guards?

The day was a blast! Tomorrow we meet Soman Chainani to discuss The School for Good and Evil. 


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