What a bittersweet yet wonderful day it was! Last days are never easy, but we certainly went out in style. In the morning, we all had fun with temporary tattoos, many of them Harry Potter related! After applying our “tattoos,” we went to the Sharp stage for one final epic round of The Great Wind Blows.
After finishing our game, our author visitor arrived: Daniel José Older! He told us all about the life he led before he became a writer. He was always very creative, but for a long time he wrote music instead of prose. After college, he became a paramedic. He witnessed a lot of crazy things – sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes just plain weird. It was really interesting to hear all these stories because so many of our personal experiences influence the books we write.
After talking about his life, Daniel answered our questions about Shadowshaper and told us that he’s already writing a sequel, which is super exciting. And because Shadowshaper takes place in Brooklyn, where Daniel lives, we did a writing exercise related to the book. We envisioned the block or street where we live, and then added one magical or supernatural element to it. From floating brownstones to upside down mirrored city blocks, we all had tons of cool and wildly different ideas!
After the writing exercise, we took our final group photo, got our books signed, and said thank you and goodbye to Daniel.
We ate lunch in Riverside Park as usual, playing a final game of Capture the Flag and Apples to Apples before heading back to Symphony Space. We split up into groups – some of us could play games or prepare for our Share time, and some of us could do some other fun writing exercises.
Finally it was time for our Share session! Someone told us scary stories, someone showed us some beautiful drawings they’d made throughout their years at camp, and some of us even performed a skit from Hamilton the musical (and rapped the lyrics!) A few of also recommended some of our favorite books, including Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
After our Share, we had a final goodbye party with some yummy goodies. We each received one of the group photos on a card that we could get our new and old friends to sign. After sharing contact info and some emotional goodbyes and see-you-laters, it was time for dismissal!
It’s been a wonderful four weeks, and though we’re sad to see the 13 year-old campers “graduate,” we can’t wait to (hopefully) see them again – either as counselors, or maybe even as authors someday!