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Field Trip! | A Day at Thalia Book Club Camp

“I like reading because you get sucked into another world.” — Ana Sofia

Symphony Space has provided residents of the New York City area with quality arts programming for almost 40 years. In addition to music, theater, and dance events, Symphony Space exposes patrons to the arts through several educational programs. Thalia Kids’ Book Club and Thalia Book Club Camp are two of those programs.

We were delighted to have been invited to visit and can say the trek uptown was worth it. The KidLit TV team is used to adults who geek out about kid lit, but we were stunned at the level of energy, excitement, and wonder expressed by the children we met. 

Thalia Book Club campers
Thalia Book Club campers during a writing prompt.


What type of child attends the Thalia Book Club Camp? Any child who lives for reading, storytelling, and getting lost in their imagination is a perfect fit for the camp. Thalia Book Club Camp provides young readers aged 9-13 with an opportunity to immerse themselves in kid lit. Each day is a new occasion for the literary-minded campers to interact with their favorite middle grade and YA authors. Also, campers go on artistically explorational field trips with children’s literature authors, illustrators, and camp staff. It’s one thing to read a book or a review, but having first-hand knowledge of an author’s creative and thought processes is priceless.

Education Director, Madeline Cohen explains why Thalia Book Club Camp is an extraordinary experience.

Field Trip!  Thalia Book Club Camp w/Madeline Cohen

“Teachers and librarians know who those children are and they can point them to our book club camp.” — Madeline Cohen

This year’s roster of kid lit creators who visited Thalia Book Club Camp included Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies), Geoff Rodkey, (The Tapper Twins Go to War with Each Other), Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil), C. Alexander London (The Wild Ones), Jude Watson (Loot), and 15 others. Soman Chainani was the featured kid lit author during our visit. We spent the day getting to know how Soman came to love fairy tales, the inspiration behind The School for Good and Evil series, and how he and his team created a superb interactive website. Click here to watch his episode of Field Trip! 

We were lucky to have three campers fit us into their busy daily schedule too. Ana Sofia, Beverly, and Liam are three campers who’ve had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with some of the most talented and successful kid lit creators. Why do these children love reading? How has reading shaped their lives? Who’s returning to Thalia Book Club Camp next year?

Field Trip!  Thalia Book Club Camp w/Campers SYMPHONY SPACE

“I love to read so she [mom] went online looking for reading camps and we found this one. I came last year and it was really fun, so I came again.” — Beverly

“I like discovering things in the book, I like cliffhangers …” — Liam

The fun doesn’t have to end because the summer is coming to a close. The Thalia Kids’ Book Club has a slew of great events during the 2015-2016 season.

“This season’s highlights include New York Times bestselling authors Rick Riordan (Oct 6) and Brian Selznick (Nov 22); Guys Read Terrifying Tales with Jon Scieszka, Michael Buckley, Rita Williams-Garcia, Dav Pilkey and more (Oct 25); and a Celebration of Dr. Seuss, a benefit for Team First Book-NYC (Dec 13). After the new year, R.J. Palacio and Rebecca Stead joining forces on Jan 24 to discuss their latest work, plus a tribute to Beverly Cleary (April 3).”

Visit Symphony Space’s website for a full list of events, descriptions, and to purchase tickets (prices range from $12-15). All events include a discussion with the audience, a writing exercise, and book-signing.

Thalia Book Club Camp signing with Soman Chainani
Thalia Book Club Camp signing with Soman Chainani.


Sign up for Symphony Space’s newsletter to keep up with Thalia Kids’ Book Club and email thaliabookclubcamp@symphonyspace.org to find out when registration for Thalia Book Club Camp begins next summer.


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Field Trip!
Executive Producer – Julie Gribble

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