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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 3

Published on July 22, 2015

We kicked off the magical realist day with games in the Thalia. Madeleine had us preform skits where we assigned magic to banal objects such as mirrors, compasses, and the list goes on. . . magically. Our visiting author, Kate Messner who wrote All the Answers, got to see some of our performances.

Kate’s presentation explored her writing method and how she gets inspired to write a book that involves magic. Kate grew up in Western New York where the main source of employment was the Fisher-Price factory. They made these:

Growing up, she would find discarded pieces behind the factory. All this to say that she did not grow up knowing you could be a writer unless you worked as a journalist. So she worked as a journalist before becoming a teacher and simultaneously becoming a writer!

Kate brought us her notebooks where she writes down ideas and quotes she likes. A sentence that popped into her head while on a zip-lining adventure park made an appearance in All the Answers : “You have to let go before you can reach”.  Each book has a notebook and she has one notebook that accumulates all things without a home that she could use on a future project.

For All the Answers, Kate researched a lot about store that were “World Famous” for something. She was inspired by the Wakarus World Famous Jumbo Jelly Beans in Indiana.

All the Answers has a magical twist! This led Kate to create the set of rules of magic. She uses mentor text such as Harry Potter or Bigger than a Bread Box. Kate had us spontaneously do five jumping jacks. Kate then asked us to pick a magical power and pick an item. We had to set up the rules to the magic. How does it work? What are its restrictions? Who can use it beside yourself? What person might need it? We had a blast with Kate and after getting our books signed, we got ready for lunch!

Before heading out to Central Park, Erica, one of our amazing counselors, organized a game of Word Assassin. A camper is given a target (another camper) and a weapon (a noun) with the sole objective of making your target say your word. While we strategized our deadly tongue traps, we walked to Central Park!

Some of us played board games in the fresh shade, while others ran around in the sun, but all of us were actively playing Word Assassin. Some campers taught us magic tricks while others read.


(One of our counselors, Zoe, yelled out “POMPEII!” and this is the amazing result!)

When we got back to Symphony Space we were given the option of reading, games in the Thalia Theater, or board and card games. Some campers stuck to one activity while other bounced from one room to the next!

A great end to a magical day! Tomorrow we have a field trip to Bank Street Bookstore and have two incredible author/illustrators that just happen to be brothers, Lev and Ellis Rosen.



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