I had a blast at the Winter Family Fun Fest! I got to sign books, teach the Candy Stripe stitch to a bunch of awesome tween gals, and catch up with old friends--I used to work at ACT as a Unit Coordinator for three summers 2009 - 2011. I also had the pleasure of hanging out with the brilliant Robin Newman, author of Hildie Bitterpickles and The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, etc!
Thrilled to be participating in the ACT Winter Family Festival at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC on Saturday, January 7th from 12 - 4pm. I'll be doing a few workshops, plus signing and selling books:) I worked as a Unit Coordinator at ACT's camp for three summers and I truly loved it! Come on by and say hi!
I had such an incredible time at my FIRST BOOK FEST! Princeton Public Library was so welcoming and organized. Plus, what a turn out! Camp Rolling Hills SOLD OUT! Shout out to all the tweens who hung out with me today, plus featured below, the fabulous authors: Megan McCafferty (The Jessica Darling series), Lee Gjersten Malone (The Last Boy at St. Edith's), and Robin Yardi (The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez).
Thanks, Marian Elizabeth, for this superb review! This totally warmed MY heart:) Link here!
It's Summer again and everybody is thrilled that it's time to head back to Camp Rolling Hills for another summer of sports, arts & crafts, and just general together-ness. Stephanie (a.k.a. Slimey) is pretty much leading the pack in excitement. She's pretty much recovered from her Dad passing away last summer and can't wait to be back with her bunkmates and her best friend, Melman.
Meanwhile, new camper Bobby (a.k.a. Smelly) is in another boat. Normally he attends baseball camp but his parents wanted him to go away for the Summer so that they could try to "work things out" so that's how he wound up at Camp Rolling Hills. After he meets his bunkmates for the first time, he's not sure if he wants to try to fit in, or start running in the opposite direction as fast as possible.
1. Summer Camp! I love a good Summer Camp story, as do a lot of people. Just look at Michael Showalter's (co-writer of Wet Hot American Summer) quote on the front cover. This book is filled with so much humor and fun and it's clear that Stacy Davidowitz is very familiar with all things camp.
2. I loved the characters! First there's the girl's cabin which is led by counselor Sara. I laughed so hard at all of their interactions with each other whether it was The J Squad shrieking at each other or Slimey consoling her counselor. Everything was really clever.
3. The boys cabin was funny in a lot of different ways. The scene where they try to come up with a nickname for Bobby is hilarious. I also laughed as they gave a rundown of everybody else's nicknames, like Totle and Play Dough. Their counselor Rick was funny too. I liked how he was able to work with Bobby and teach him guitar.
4. A lot of the different things that went on made me feel nostalgic for childhood, like dances and first crushes and those care free summer days where you don't have to worry about anything besides not getting sunburn. Not gonna lie, the final campfire scene definitely warmed my heart.
5. There is another book! 2 more books! I have a copy of the second one for review so you can expect me to read & review that on the blog within the next couple of weeks.
Sure, Camp Rolling Hills is a middle grade book, but it's filled with humor and will make you smile. I recommend this book to you if you like nostalgia and summer and summer camp! Also, if you have any kids or know any kids you should definitely have them check it out. I would have loved a book series like this when I was a kid! :)
I was so lucky to have spent three days at Camp Louise, outside of Baltimore, facilitating Camp Rolling Hills book clubs, teaching writing workshops, eating banana boats, petting goats, and cheering. A lot of cheering.
Read their blog below!
DIRECTOR’S BLOG – AUGUST 3, 2016
Posted by Alicia Berlin on August 04, 2016
This is the second year that Camp Louise has held a Book Club. This summer, we are so excited to partner with author Stacy Davidowitz. In addition to two of our very own amazing staff who have been leading the Book Club, Stacy came to camp this week as an author in residence.
The campers participating in the Book Club had an opportunity to ask Stacy questions about her books, her camp life, and her inspiration for the characters. The campers got to hear a song from the musical (Letter Writing) that the book is based on and they got to do a dramatic read aloud and role play different characters in the book. The campers absolutely loved it! Some of them said:
“I like books a lot, and I’ve very excited that I got to meet the author, she’s very nice.”
“I like being in book club because reading new books is fun, and meeting Stacy was just a great add-on.”
“I like being in book club because it’s really cool to meet the author, and the book is awesome!”
I have read the first book in her series – Camp Rolling Hills – so I was definitely looking forward to talking with Stacy about her books. Stacy told me:
“Camp Rolling Hills is about a bunch of 12-year-olds at sleepaway camp—forever friendships are made, underwear is stolen, romance is sparked, marshmallows are roasted, and summer is celebrated! The book series Camp Rolling Hills is based on a musical I co-wrote.”
Stacy is a camp person – not Camp Louise, but we won’t hold that against her. In discussing her inspiration for this now four book series, she shared:
“I love camp. Truly, deeply love it. Experiencing it as a camper and then counselor and then head staff, I really got to understand its ins and outs, and most importantly, the kind of positive impact it can have on a kid. So of course plots and activities are derived from my experiences, but also the bigger themes: friendship, being true to who you are, firsts–that’s the heart of the inspiration. I made such fantastic friends and helped nurture friendships among campers when I worked as a counselor; I experienced life-changing firsts I could never experience at home; and I learned to embrace my quirkiness with my bunkmates by my side.”
Stacy has really enjoyed her time here at Louise. She said that:
“Being here at Camp Louise, I’m overwhelmed with the creativity, love, support, and inner and outer awesomeness of the campers and staff. It’s so refreshing and inspiring to work with girls who appreciate life, appreciate each other, and will one day take on the world with all the amazing skills and values they’ve learned each summer. What an amazing family you’ve got!”
If you want to read more information about Stacy and her books, please check out her website www.StacyDavidowitz.com and the website for her books www.camprollinghills.com.
- See more at: http://airylouise.org/newsfeed/directors-blog-august-3-2016/#sthash.WMnQWUYN.dpuf
Had a fantastic author event with Nerd Camp's Elissa Brent Weissman! We had amazing cameos: authors Ronald L. Smith (Hoodoo), Karen Hattrup (Frannie and Tru), and Shawn K. Stout (Penelope Crumb). Thanks for the support!
I was lucky to spend three whole days at Camp Louise in Maryland, facilitating book clubs and writing workshops, and helping out with all things camp! I pet goats, ate banana boats, heard of ghost stories, and signed lots of books!
Being at Camp Louise, I was overwhelmed with the creativity, love, support, and inner and outer awesomeness of the campers and staff. It’s so refreshing and inspiring to work with girls who appreciate life, appreciate each other, and will one day take on the world with all the amazing skills and values they’ve learned each summer. What an incredible family they've got.
CHATTING COLOR WAR WITH ELENA BRENT WEISSMAN AND STACY DAVIDOWITZ
HEATHER -- JULY 29, 2016
What do authors Elissa Brent Weissman and Stacy Davidowitz have in common? A love of camp, years of friendship, and they’re both appearing at The Children’s Bookstore on Saturday!
Elissa and Stacy have both recently released their second camp-themed novels for middle grade kids. What better way to celebrate than with a camp-themed book signing? Meet both authors and get your books signed at the Roland Park bookstore on Saturday, July 30th at 11:30 AM.
We caught up with both of them to chat s’mores, friendship bracelets, nerds, and color war.
chatting color war with elena brent weissmann and stacy davidowitz
CP: Talk to us about Camp Rolling Hills. What inspired you to write it?
Stacy: Camp Rolling Hills is about a bunch of 12-year-olds at sleepaway camp—forever friendships are made, underwear is stolen, romance is sparked, marshmallows are roasted, and summer is celebrated! I’m totally camp-obsessed. And my whole family works in the camp industry.
CP: What about Nerd Camp 2.O, Elissa. What is it all about?
Elissa: In Nerd Camp, we meet Gabe, a ten-year old who’s super excited to go to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. The only problem is that he’s also desperate to impress his cool new stepbrother, Zack, and he knows that Zack would consider SCGE to be Nerd Camp. In Nerd Camp 2.0, Gabe returns to Nerd Camp and Zack is set to attend a sleepaway camp of his own, Camp Seneca. But a wildfire in the region means both camps will have to share the same campground. With all the nerds and the cool kids in one place, the two stepbrothers find themselves on opposite sides of a summer camp war. Sleepaway camp is a magical place. With so many kids and so few adults to get in the way, it’s also a dream setting for a children’s book. And a summer camp for nerds? That’s right in my sweet spot.
CP: Full disclosure, I never did the sleepaway camp thing — but I have met SO MANY moms and kids that are all about “10-for-2.” How did your camp experience shape these books? (And which camp did you attend?)
Elissa: Here’s my dirty secret: I’ve never been to sleepaway camp either. I went to a day camp on Long Island—South Shore Y!—that was also a travel camp, so we’d take trips that lasted a few days, or maybe a week. I loved it, but I was always SO jealous of my friends who went to for-real sleepaway camp. Even if I didn’t spend the full summer away from home, though, I still experienced the intense friendships that you can form at camp, and I was fully immersed in camp rituals like Color War, ghost stories, and s’mores.
Stacy: Yup, I’m all about the 10-for-two. I love camp. Truly, deeply love it. Experiencing it as a camper and then counselor and then head staff, I really got to understand its in and outs, and most importantly, the kind of positive impact it can have on a kid. So of course plots and activities and even the camp’s layout are derived from my experiences, but also the bigger themes: friendship, being true to who you are, firsts–that’s the heart of the inspiration. I made such fantastic friends and helped nurture friendships among campers when I worked as a counselor; I experienced life-changing firsts I could never experience at home; and I learned to embrace my quirkiness with my bunkmates by my side. I feel so lucky to have grown up at Tyler Hill Camp.
CP: I’m going to ask the blunt question: anything autobiographical about either book? Willing to share it?
Stacy: I don’t know if there’s anything directly autobiographical, though a lot of plot lines are mashups of my own experiences. There’s an international transfer camper romance I’m going to be writing in Book 4, and I guess you can say that’s going to be inspired my own first camp romance. Also, there are some Sophie-isms that are straight up me-isms. SPOILER: If there’s a sixth book, you’ll meet her masterpiece “Lice the Musical” which is something I legit wrote ten summers ago.
Elissa: It’s no secret that I’m a nerd. But I like to think I’m a nerd like Gabe: passionate about learning but not socially inept. Most of the personal experience I drew on to write these books, though, came from my summers teaching at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY). My students were incredible smart, but also funny, sweet, goofy, and, you know, kids. They inspired many of the things the Nerd Campers do in the books. My favorite drawn-from-life detail is that my students really did memorize digits of Pi, just like Gabe and his bunkmates. (Since the book’s come out, it’s inspired other kids to memorize digits of Pi. One girl told me she learned a whopping 125 digits beyond 3.14.)
CP: What do you want kids to take away from your book after reading it?
Elissa: Mostly, I just hope they enjoy the story and laugh a lot. But Gabe realizes that it’s okay to be himself—labels aside—and it’d be great if readers realize that too.
Stacy: Take risks. Be your big ol’ weird self. Resolve issues through song. Lead. Listen. Know you can sleep through noise. Remember to clap at skunks. Hide visiting day candy, but, like, well. It’s great to laugh so hard you pee a little. Sometimes, you’ve got to cry. To kiss. To compete. To open up. To raid. To love with all your heart. To roast the perfect marshmallow.
CP: So how do you know one another?
Stacy: High School! Elissa was the super brainy, super tennis star, super thespian two years above me. We actually played varsity tennis together, and in our school’s Shakespeare production of The Comedy of Errors, she played Luciana and I was her understudy! We connected again post-college since she was writing novels and I was writing plays, and then we were like, hey let’s write something together that combines both formats. We wrote a middle grade plovel which is a half-play-half-novel about a 10-year-old aspiring playwright!
CP: Elissa, you are currently living in Baltimore. What’s your favorite way to spend a summer day in Charm City with your two children?
Elissa: There are so many good options, it’s hard to choose! My best summer days involve some combination of: Boxing with Chris Nissley or Reese Ashe, then writing at The Bun Shop. Walking (with my 5- and 3-year olds scootering) from our house in Federal Hill to the fountains in the harbor, or to the free water taxi to Harbor East for some time in Pierce’s Park. Lounging at Fort McHenry, or meeting friends at Riverside Park. Taking a nap (always). Dinner at Hersh’s. Catching an O’s game. And relaxing on the roof deck once the kids are in bed.
CP: And Stacy, anything you’re looking forward to while your visiting this weekend?
Stacy: After the bookstore event, I’m spending three days at Camp Louise facilitating writing workshops and book clubs. It’s going to be awesome. Bring on the s’mores!
Check out the #10for2 fun in both of their new books and meet the authors this Saturday! Be sure to check out Elissa’s website and Stacy’s website, too!
Author of the 4-book Camp Rolling Hills Book Series! Order here!