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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 4, 2016

The week is flying by! Today was a really fun, jam-packed day at camp. In the morning, we started the day by reading a few paragraphs aloud from When Friendship Followed Me Home, by Paul Griffin, in preparation for our audio books-themed field trip to Penguin Random House Publishing. After the short reading exercise, we played some of our usual games on the Sharp stage.

After finishing up our games, we went back to the camp room to greet our author visitor, Barry Lyga, who wrote The Secret Sea. Barry told us all about his brainstorming process in fascinating detail. He told us that the inspiration for his novel came from a bunch of wild ideas all mixed up in a metaphorical blender. Barry’s curiosities ranged in topics, and four main interests fueled his ideas for The Secret Sea: Hurricane Sandy flooding a PATH train station, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a mysterious boat unearthed under the World Trade Center, and quantum physics. Somehow, Barry was able to combine all these wildly different concepts into an awesome book for us to read.










After describing the brainstorming process, Barry told us all about the process of getting the book published. He described all the conversations he had with his editor about what worked and what didn’t work, and how he decided to fix or change some parts of the book to make it even better.

We also did a short writing exercise about what we would do if we discovered an alternate universe, like Zak did in The Secret Sea. After sharing some of our own alternate universe ideas, we had a Q+A discussion, took a group photo, and got our books signed.





We went to lunch in Riverside Park as usual, and then we headed out on the subway to Penguin Random House. We were lucky enough to listen to Paul Griffin talk about the process of turning his novel, When Friendship Followed Me Home, into an audio book. Actors usually read the audio books, but because Paul was a great storyteller, the audio book producer, Orli Moscowitz, thought it would be awesome if the author could read his own book!


The producer told us all about what her job entails. It sounded difficult but also super fun! She chooses actors to read based on a variety of factors – how old the narrator is, what their personality might be, or if the book is written in first or third person. She then has to schedule time in recording studios, and she has to make sure the actors pronounce some more difficult words correctly. Sometimes,when there were words in foreign languages, she even called the country’s national embassy for information on pronunciation!

During the presentation, we listened to the beginning of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, narrated by the actor Jim Dale, which was a really fun blast from the past! The producer we spoke with produced it.



Audio books are a really cool mixture of book publishing and the entertainment industry (actors and writers galore!)

Near the end of our trip, we were lucky enough to each receive a copy of Paul Griffin’s audio book of When Friendship Followed Me Home. We even got them signed by Paul and the producer!








It was such a fun and interesting trip. After riding the subway back to Symphony Space, we played a few more games to wrap up the day before dismissal.








We’re sad the last day of camp is tomorrow, but it will surely be an excellent day. Daniel Jose Older will be visiting us, and we can’t wait!


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