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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 4, Day 1

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Published on August 3, 2015

First day of the last week of camp was a winner! We got our creative juices running with a surrealist activity! Campers were paired up and were asked to draw — WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE PAPER– their partner. Incredible echoes of ourselves flourished on the page. We then exchanged papers and added ONE thing to define us that was missing in the original piece. Missing noses, hair, necklaces, eyes, and other essential facial features were added and created another amazing dimension to the project. After getting to know one another a little bit better, we played ice-breaker games. A sound game got us to join forces and end as one long snake in the Sharp Theater. Then we played Where The Great Wind Blows.

As Thalia Kids’ Book Club tradition states, we started the book clubs. 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. Everyone had really exciting thoughts and questions about the books that we can’t wait to share with the authors. When we got back to the room, Nicole had us make a memory map for tomorrow’s visiting author, S.E. Grove, the author of The Glass Sentence. Memory maps portray a space in your memory in which you attache certain events or feeling to a particular space or object within your map. We had grandparent’s ranches, apartments, and cities that directed us through campers memories. We will be able to show them to S.E. Grove tomorrow. She has made one too to show us!

We headed out to Joan of Arc Island Park to eat our lunch.  A lot of our campers played capture the flag. The Vipers and the Bonzai went head to head. Everyone got to be on a winning team and the flags were successfully captured. We played Apples to Apples or Sushi Go.  Those who felt like it spent lunch reading. It was also the day where we released the butterflies that Jacqueline Kelly brought us during week 2! We sent four butterflies to fly in Riverside Park.

Upon our return, Michael Buckley, author of Undertow, was waiting for us. His presentation was hilarious. He showed us pictures of his childhood and his past taste in hawaiian shirts. He looked like a “tour guide from a Hawaiian motel”. He hails from Akron, Ohio, where the zipper was invented. And that’s about how interesting Akron is… Despite the small town where nothing happens, Michael had an incredible childhood. He invented a joke for MAD magazine and WON! His joke was : Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? /……../ Because it was dead! His prize was to meet Eddie Murphy. They had a great day at the mall and that is where he was inspired to become a stand up comedian.This led him to work for David Letterman, MTV, Nickelodeon, the Discovery Channel (he did a tv documentary on the mole-people under New York City.)

We then discussed his book and the influences that shaped Undertow. The civil rights movement and the tales of various cultures of mermaids were an enormous inspiration to Michael. Mermaids in other cultures do not even come close to the image of the Little Mermaid that Disney made popular. They look like actual sea monsters. And the waves of inspiration became a tsunami of creativity. Michael answered our amazing questions and told us funny stories about his bad reviews. Then had us do a writing prompt. Every story needs a villain. We were asked to describe our face to face interaction with our villain. Book cases, the patriarchy, and our fear of flying were confronted.

Michael then signed our books and took a photo with us.

Tomorrow we meet S.E. Grove and take a trip to the Museum of Natural History!


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