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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 1, Day 4

Published on July 13, 2017

An eventful day at the Thalia Kids Book Club Camp!

We started off with an adventure down to the Rubin Museum with C. Alexander London (author of We Are Not Eaten by Yaks) to learn about animals and animal symbolism in Himalayan Art.  The Rubin Museum opened 2 hours early for us, so we had the whole place to ourselves!  We looked at statues of goddesses (who are often depicted surrounded by animals!) and talked about how animals can be protectors, (especially in Himalayan art).  We discussed what animals we thought would make good protectors and what animals we were most afraid of.  (Turns out most of us are afraid of Tarantulas!)

We also looked at a couple different 16th century mandalas and spotted some hybrid animals–  creatures that combine two different animals into one!  We discussed how hybrid animals can be extra powerful protectors, since they can combine the abilities of multiple animals.  We even sketched our own hybrid animals in a drawing exercise; we considered what animals we thought could be best combined to serve as our protector.   Our guides at the museum also told us some amazing stories about animals and goddess from Hindu mythology!

After a wonderful morning at the Rubin, we headed back uptown for lunch in the park, and as always: capture the flag.  In the afternoon, we were joined again by author C. Alexander London, who told us all about how he ended up an author, and what inspires his books!   He used to hate reading and loved television and video games, but was so transfixed by stories that he found himself writing them all the time.  He told us his Secret Ingredients for writing a good book:  he combines different elements of his life in a weird way to create something new.  Turns out We are Not Eaten by Yaks was inspired by his own family and childhood!  He told us some amazing stories about his life,  like the time he was a journalist in Myanmar and had to hide from the government!  He was holed up in a hotel room for three days and all he could do was watch “Sponge Bob Square Pants.”  This experience ended up inspiring We Are Not Eaten by Yaks!

C. Alexander London also led a short writing workshop, where we took superhero/super villain characters we had developed earlier in the week with Lee Bacon, and we put them in the most NORMAL situation possible, just to see what would happen.  We had a goddess working at a Duane Reade, a Super Hero (with a super sense of smell!) working at a very smelly pre-school, and many other silly situations and debacles for our superheros/villains. 

A fascinating and hilarious day with C. Alexander London– looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures with Wendy Wan-Long Shang and The Way Home Looks Now!


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