Wow, what a wonderful whirlwind of a day! Day 2 got off to a fun and wacky start on the big Sharp stage at Symphony Space. To get some of the wiggles out before our author visit, we played some games on the stage, including The Great Wind Blows. It’s a timeless favorite. We set up chairs for everyone except one person, and the person without a chair stands in the middle and says: “The Great Wind Blows if you….[fill in the blank]. Examples included wearing blue sneakers, went to sleepaway camp this summer, loved the book Some Kind of Happiness].” If the statement applied to you, you had to run around and switch chairs with someone else! It was very high-energy, and we learned a lot about each other’s lives in the process.
After the games, we had our author visit: Claire Legrand! She started off her presentation by telling us three very important things: 1, life is weird; 2, daydream; 3, never, ever give up. To emphasize this, Claire held up a thick stack of paper and asked us to guess what it was. Many campers thought it was a first draft or a writer’s notebook, but it turned out to be over 40 rejection letters from agents for the first book she wrote! And yet she still went on to publish four beloved books, so clearly it’s SUPER important to never give up!
Claire told us a spooky story about an orphanage that was the major inspiration for her first book, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, but a lot of inspiration for Some Kind of Happiness came from her personal life. In order to come up with ideas, Claire said she takes walks with her dogs and listens to music. As it turns out, she was a very good trumpet player when she was in high school! Music is really important in her creative process, so she had us do a really cool brainstorming and writing activity related to music. She played us three short music clips from movie soundtracks, and asked us to answer 3 questions: what do we feel? Think? See? Everyone interpreted the music differently even though we all listened to the same song!
After a Q+A, author photo, and book signing, we packed up for lunch and headed to Central Park! Claire came with us, which made it super special. We all chatted and played games and ate our food, and then Claire led us to a nice shady spot near the Reservoir for a world building activity related to her book. We all picked an object, animal, human passerby, or a grassy spot that appealed to us, and built a written world around it using our five senses. After brainstorming and writing for a while, we all shared our ideas with each other and with Claire. There were some amazing ones related to seemingly commonplace things like lampposts, reservoirs, bridges, tall buildings, and trees.
We’re excited to meet John J Bonk tomorrow, and go on our field trip to Grand Central!