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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 3 Day 1

Published on July 24, 2017

What a great first day of camp!

We started off by playing some get-to-know-you games in the Sharp Theater. After “Icebreaker Bingo,” we went around in a circle and named some of our favorite books (a list of these will be at the end of this post). Then we did mini book clubs, where campers discussed the weeks books in small groups. Some stopped by every book discussion, others popped back into a group for extra time to talk about their favorite books.

In preparation for our visit from Steve Sheinkin, we then went back into the studio and watched a few short documentaries, “Kill the Indian, Save the Man,” and “Stolen Children; Residential School Survivors Speak Out,” about Indian residential schools. We also saw a clip from a mini-series called “Into the West,” which took place at Carlisle Indian School, whose football team is the focus of Undefeated.

After lunch, we had our author visit. Steve Sheinkin talked about how he had always wanted to be a writer, but was not particularly interested in nonfiction or history. “You can have a goal and have it come out kind of unexpected,” he told us. His first nonfiction work was writing textbooks. After finding that the most interesting stories had to be left out of those textbooks, he decided to write narrative nonfiction history books about the stories that interested him. He also talked more about the history surrounding Undefeated, and even demonstrated a football play that was used by the Carlisle Indian School football team. Lastly, he took us through his writing process, showing us pictures of how he maps out his books using index cards, a technique he learned while studying screenwriting.

After a Q&A, Steve gave the campers a writing prompt. He said that sometimes when writing nonfiction you really want to include a scene that you think could have happened, or that you would like to have happened, but that you have no evidence of. He told them to write a historical fiction scene between Jim Thorpe and his girlfriend Iva discussing the fact that Pop Warner had betrayed him regarding his stolen Olympic medals. We had some pretty great stories! Day one started to wind down after a book signing.

We can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow!

Book Recommendations 

“Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli

“The Assassin Game” by Ward Larsen

“Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbit

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“The Forger’s Spell” by Edward Dolnich

The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling

“Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle” by George Hagen

“Some Kind of Happiness” by Claire Legrand

“11-22-63” by Stephen King

“Jake and Lily” by Jerry Spinelli

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

“The Kidney Hypothetical, or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days” by Lisa Yee

“Gathering Blue” by Lois Lowry

“My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry,” by Fredrik Backman

“Echo” by Pam Muñoz Ryan

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry

“Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton

“A Single Shard” by Linda Sue Park

“The Fifth Wave” by Rick Yancey

“The Martian” by Andy Weir

“Cinder” by Marissa Meyer

“A Mango Shaped Space” by Wendy Mass

“Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

“These Shallow Graves” by Jennifer Donnelly

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