Today was our second day of bookworm camp and it was fabulous! The campers started the morning with a creative writing activity, writing a diary entry from the viewpoint of a character who just woke up in a post-apocalyptic world. It was a lot of fun and they did a great job. I have some very creative campers!
After that we prepared for our Skype visit with Mike Mullin, the author of Ashfall. The campers were very excited because none of them had ever experienced an up-close-and-personal chat with an author before. Or, as one of them said, “with a celebrity!” We brainstormed some questions, prepared the room, and performed our test call. That’s when I realized that we didn’t have a microphone! Thankfully, it only took a quick call to the IT department and they raced up with a boundary microphone for us to use. The guys who helped me were wonderful and could not have been more helpful. (Thanks, guys!). And then, we were ready!
The interview went off without a hitch. Mike Mullin was engaging and kept the kids laughing and asking questions. When he first popped on the screen the kids all exclaimed, “Wow! That’s a lot of books!”. Mike laughed and then moved the webcam around, pointing out his huge TBR pile, his research bookshelves, and his library books. He also explained that there were many more bookshelves in other areas of the house. The kids loved that.
Mike started by talking a bit about Ashfall and telling us how he came to write the book. He showed us his container of volcanic ash and told us about the road trip he took to trace the journey that Alex and Darla embark upon in the book. That really impressed the campers. Then, he read to us from Ashen Winter, the upcoming sequel to the first book. The campers loved hearing the first chapter before it’s really “out there” for the public. Plus, it’s great to hear the characters voiced the way that the author imagines them.
After that, Mike took questions from the campers. At first, they were a bit shy, but they slowly opened up. Mike was so engaging that they couldn’t help it! He answered questions about how he wrote the book, his outlining process, where he is with the third book in the series, how books are titled, the inspiration behind some characters in the book, and lots more. It as enlightening and the kids really got into it. And of course, one of my boys asked if Mike plays World of Warcraft (Alex plays in the book) and was thrilled when Mike said yes. His street cred went way up when he got deep into conversation with my camper about where he left off in the game. Talk about authentic!
We talked to Mike way longer than we should have and I felt bad for taking up more of his time than we should have. But Mike was extremely gracious and continued interacting with the campers for a few more minutes. I can not recommend his book enough and if you get a chance to Skype him into your classroom or library you should do it!!
After our Skype call we did a bit more of our read aloud, Liar & Spy before lunch. The kids are really into the book, which I knew would happen! But we had to cut it short to make it to lunch in time.
After lunch we took about 45 minutes to read our books, which was heavenly. :)
We ended the day talking a bit about our next book, Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs. I’m looking forward to digging into fairy tales a little more tomorrow.
As the day ended, one of my campers turned to me as she was walking out the door. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that I got to talk to a real author today. Like, a real celebrity. It’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me.” With a smile, she glided out of the room. Let me tell you, I spent the rest of the day smiling! This camp is AWESOME!