The Wizard’s Library ~ Final two days!

Our camp is now over—the last two days were quite a whirlwind! One of the best things about the camp? Yes, the kids were amazing, the stories and artwork beautiful, but really I’m happier than an Een in a pickle barrel that I didn’t get sick or run-down during this camp (like I so often do during our February camps in Korea).

Story typing.
One of the Wiz Kids works to furiously finish up her story on the last day of our camp (dragon egg at her side).
Story Edit.
For this camp, we made every student begin his or her story in the good old-fashioned way: with pen and paper! It was only after an edit by one of the instructors that they could begin typing up their tales. I love the little illustration—when I look back upon this student's work, I can really see her imagination at work on the page. This is a view of the writing process you just don't get when you start directly on the computer.
Travel Brochure.
One of the travel brochures we created—near completion!
Travel Brochure
This brochure is absolutely beautiful! I'll be scanning in its entirety and posting it once I return home.
On our final day, the students took inspiration from their travel brochures to create a short commercial, trying to convince the audience to come visit their enchanted kingdom.
One of the Wiz Kids performs her commercial, while the others look on.

The Wizard’s Library ~ Day 4

Our fourth day involved illuminated manuscripts and a wizard’s tournament! The tournament featured a variety of brain-teasers and and other wizardly skill-testing tasks.

Illuminated manuscript.
What a wonderful spell! Notice the gold and silver finish!
Illuminated manuscript.
I love this spell; it turns a bird into a mouse!
Another scrapbook page, documenting the training of a wizard's apprentice.
Madame Kallie.
Madame Kallie (and Prospero) have a quite laugh during our Wizard's tournament.
Nasty Gnomes.
In this activity, Wiz Kids had to use a mini-wand to destroy some nasty "gnomes" plaguing their kingdom.
Paper Prospero.
One activity during the Wizard's tournament was to make an origami owl (a paper Prospero!).
Wiz Kids.
Some of the Wiz Kids after performing a skit. The students were divided into teams representing different magic kingdoms (such as Narnia, Oz, and Hogwarts).
Shooting Stars.
One of the Wiz Kids tries to shoot a "star" out of the sky during the Wizard's Tournament.
Mr. Wiz
"Mr. Wiz" (that's me!) and Prospero enjoy the festivities during the Wizard's Tournament.

The Wizard’s Library ~ Day 3

Day 3 is now complete ~ surviving it was no small feat!

Brochure design.
The Wiz Kids started assembling their travel brochures for their magic kingdoms. (You'll have to check your local travel agency to see if they start adding these encahnted destinations to their vacation packages).
Travel brochure.
One of the travel brochures nearing completion.
Brochure design.
A completed travel brochure ~ and it looks amazing! We'll display them all on the last day of camp.
Student story.
A student story in progress, inspired by all of our wizardly activities.
Egg Painting
The Wiz Kids design their own enchanted eggs. After painting them, they had to imagine what would hatch out of their sparkling creations.
Hatchling design.
A student works on the design of her enchanted creature. Apparently, winged horses hatch from blue eggs!
Hatchling design
Another enchanted egg; I love how the creature matches the colours of its egg!

The Wizard’s Library ~ Day 2

Day 2 of our creative writing camp is in the books. Wizard hats, wizard wands—and some very poetic dueling!

Prospero Helps
Prospero helps a student work on her story.
Hat making.
The Wiz Kids construct their very own hats.
Kallie helps with hat making.
Kallie helps the students test their hats, while Prospero looks on.
Bear with wand.
EEK! A bear came to our class—and even made her own wand.
Wizard's Duel.
Each Wiz Kid came up and cast a rhyming-spell at me; I had to defend myself by making up rhymes (on the spot) to deflect the magic curses hurled in my direction!
Wand attack.
A Wiz Kid gestures with her wand, ready to inflict some deadly punishment upon me (invariably, to drown me in ketchup, eat eggs, or read Anne of Green Gables).
Mr. Wiz duelling.
It took all my coconut-power to defend myself against attack after attack! Thankfully, I had Kendra Kandlestar's wand to assist me.
Well, as you can see by the scoreboard, the Wiz Kids eventually defeated me. I actually won MORE than three rounds—there just happened to be some creative editing of the scoreboard (and my name).
Even Prospero ended up getting his own hat and wand.

The Wizard’s Library ~ Day 1

We’ve finished our first day of our “Wizard’s Library” camp in Korea!

Wiz Kids select their kits.
Each would-be apprentice selects his or her wizard kit as Prospero the owl quizzically looks on.
Wiz Kid and kit.
A Wiz Kid peers into her wizard's kit to discover a dragon's feather, a key, and other treasures.
A Wiz Kid brainstorms for a story using the "story brew" worksheet.
Character Design.
A Wiz Kid designs some characters for her story.
A Wiz Kid works on a scrapbook page of her character.
Scapbook page.
A completed scrapbook page for a wizard character.

I have the best job in the world

I spent yesterday with my fellow-teacher, Kallie George, preparing “wizard kits” for our upcoming writing camp. One of our activities will be to have the kids prepare a spell book page in the style of an old illuminated manuscript. For inspiration, we decided to put together a  kit of enchanted ingredients.

Truth be told, I’ve taught many a magic potion class and, as such, I have an entire cabinet in my kitchen devoted to the storing of delightful ingredients. But these giant glass bottles of mummy dust, pixie juice, and the like would will be impossible to transport across international waters, so we assembled a smaller kit. There is not enough magical ingredients in this kit for an entire class of would-be wizards to brew anything, but I hope it will serve as fodder for their imaginations.

Wizard Kit

Note the strangely-shaped bottle with the green liquid; this is an enchanted substance that can actually determine the amount of magic a person holds within his or her heart. All you have to do is cradle the bottle between your palms and chant a few wizardly words. The higher in the tube the liquid climbs, the more magical you are.

However, Griffin was more interested in the Phoenix feathers (the whole afternoon, he kept jumping up to poke around our ingredients).

Griffin and the Wizard kit.

We’re also preparing mini-kits for each of our students. Each one is slightly different, containing phoenix feathers, rings, and a variety of pebbles, jewels, and keys—all required supplies for our team of Wiz Kids.

Wiz Kid Kits.

Just a few more days, and we jet across the ocean!

Scrapbooking a character

In the next few days I’m leaving for Korea to lead a creative writing camp based on “The Wizard’s Library.” I’m always looking for new ways to teach character-building and my teaching partner, Kallie George, has come up with a new idea: scrapbooking a character.

We are going to ask each of our students to develop and design an apprentice character. They can draw their characters—this is certainly an important part of developing  character—but we will also get them to construct a scrapbook page, in which they chronicle their characters’ wizardly studies through a collection of memories.

This is also a fun activity if you just want to think about an existing character from a different angle. I ended up making a scrapbook page for Kendra Kandlestar, so that I can show my students an example of a finished project. I decided to do mine purely through illustration, though this is certainly an activity that you could do by assembling a page of actual objects. Feather, buttons, “photos”—you name it! Personally, I would love to see the scrapbook of some of my author friend’s characters!

Kendra's Scrapbook page

My masked visitor from the Land of Een

Ratchet Ringtail

Friends, family, students—you’ve all heard about the visitor who so frequently comes knocking on my door from the Land of Een. I wish I could say Ratchet Ringtail was coming to introduce his latest zany invention, but the truth of the matter is that he’s coming for Griffin’s cat food.

Usually he comes during the darkest hours of night, but yesterday I was sitting in my studio (drawing flags for the Land of Een; but that’s another story) when I heard a crunching coming from my kitchen that sounded not AT ALL like Griffin. I poked my head around the corner and there he was, that ring-tailed rascal, eating his fill.

I have NO idea how Ratchet fits through the cat flap. He looks to be at least twice the size of Griffin.

In any case, Ratchet kind of looked at me dolefully, then kept eating. I went to snatch my camera, but the mere sound of its electronics beeping to life sent him scurrying through the cat flap. I followed after him and did manage to get a few pictures of him as he stared me down from outside. Eventually, he sauntered off—only to return an hour later for more grub.

I closed the cat flap, but Ratchet decided to just sit on my doormat and chill. Peering out the window at the top of the door, I couldn’t see Ratchet sitting at the bottom—just his striped tail. So there Ratchet spent most of the night, as if patiently waiting for me to let him in. Griffin sat on the inside of the door, offering the occasional threatening growl—but I think that was for me amusement (secretly, I think they’re best of friends).

Ratchet Ringtail.

Ratchet Ringtail

Take a vacation in the Land of Een

I finally completed the map of Een that I’ve been fiddling with the past couple of weeks. It shows all the nooks and crannies that I’ve never shown readers before, including the outermost borders of Een, as well as some new locations that I hope answer some questions for readers. (I also hope it makes readers ask a few more!)

Map of the Land of Een

This whole exercise didn’t come about because of my work on the fourth book, but because of my preparation for the upcoming fantasy camp I’m teaching at the end of the month. We’ve decided that one of the world-building activities we want to deliver will be to construct a “bewitching brochure” to entice visitors to come visit a magic kingdom.

As such, I’ve prepared a brochure for the Land of Een. It’s a hard place to find, of course, but I hope this brochure will prompt you to do a little exploring for that land hidden between the cracks of here and there.

This is meant to be a tri-fold brochure, so you’ll have to imagine that in the two “spreads” I’m showing below.

Een Travel Brochure

Een Travel Brochure

Now, I know what all of my author friends are thinking: I want to make MY own brochure! Well, go for it! I’ve made a template for you. Just download it by visiting my activities page on the Kendra Kandlestar website.