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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 4

Published on August 7, 2015


Our fun could not be disguised today– but we could! Our fourth day of camp started with some activities on the Sharp stage in preparation for our field trip to the Morgan Library. The library is having a special exhibit on Alice in Wonderland, in honor of the book’s 150th birthday. We had a theatrical reading of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. In preparation of projecting our voices, we got to decorate masks and wear them! After deciphering the non-sense of this magical and frightening poem, Nicole asked us to write our own stanza that we could place anywhere in the poem. It was a difficult task, but  our campers hit it out of the park!

We had a little free time before meeting Holly Black, so we played handshake assassin. But instead of handshakes at a party, we had a masquerade.

Once a sneaky camper killed almost all of camp with their deadly handshake, Holly Black, author of The Darkest Part of the Forest, greeted us in the camp room.

Holly told us that growing up, she loved hearing stories about fairies and as a child, and her mother constantly warned her about the ghosts that lived in her house. She wrote her earliest stories about fairies living in abandoned places along the Jersey Shore, and told us to save the writing we do now, because one day, fans will make us read our earliest work in front of everyone! How embarrassing! Holly also talked about the experience of seeing her book, The Spiderwick Chronicles, turned into a film. She said it was surreal seeing the places and characters she dreamed up become actual movie sets and real people. But she loved the experience and thought that the movie really captured the spirit of the books.

Then Holly led our writing activity, where we reimagined classic fairy tales. We took the characters we knew and loved, and put them in new settings, or gave them new identities. Hansel and Gretel moved to New York City, and an evil stepmother became a murderous grandpa from Texas. It got pretty silly! Holly signed our books and took a photo with us!

We said goodbye to Holly and had lunch in Central park before our trip to the Morgan Library.

The Morgan Library visit was a great success! We got to see Jack Morgan’s original parlor room! We were split up into two groups and took a tour of the Alice in Wonderland exhibit. Our docents had us draw characters of Alice in Wonderland and discuss our interest with those particular characters. It’s amazing that a 150 year-old book can still inspire us today! We also got a tour of J.P. Morgan’s Private Library. It was incredible and we saw the secret staircase!

We rode the subway and got back to camp just in time to find our parents waiting for us. Tomorrow is the last day of camp! We’ll welcome Alex London, have our Friday share, and say goodbye!

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