August 31

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Book Trailer Premiere: Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond

Hello Everyone! Birdwatching—or “birding” in the bird nerd world—is one of my greatest passions.  When I was growing up, there was always a pair of binoculars within reach to watch the parade of birds stopping by our backyard feeders. I memorized most of the Golden Guide to the Birds of North America when I was in elementary school, and I’ve never stopped learning. Birding is a wonderful way to mark the year. Each season has its own species:  spring migrants, summer breeding birds, fall migrants, and winter residents.

I’ve been participating in the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count for more than 15 years.   Once each winter, volunteers across the Western Hemisphere go out into their communities to count birds—it’s an annual census that helps ornithologists, or bird scientists, know which species are thriving and which are declining. What’s so cool about the Christmas Bird Count is that anyone can do it. You don’t have to be an expert to join a team, as every sighting needs to be confirmed by at least one other person. It’s the longest running citizen science project in the world. The Christmas Bird Count struck me as the perfect subject to engage children in the joys of nature observation! Every region has its own unique habitats and species, but the rules and excitement of the count are the same everywhere.

When I started this manuscript almost 5 years ago, it was more of a seek-and-find counting book. But my editor at Peachtree Publishing Company, Vicky Holifield, had a vision. She was intrigued by the mechanics of the count itself and wanted to highlight all of my birding knowledge. At first, it seemed like a lot of information to pack into a picture book, but it worked. Paired with Stephanie Fizer Coleman’s charmingly beautiful and accurate illustrations, I couldn’t be happier with the result!

When it came time to create the trailer, I watched many created by my SCBWI critique group members and my other 2019 debut authors, as well as those on sites like this one. I knew I wanted a child’s voice to tell the story, and one of my teaching colleague’s daughters was up for the part. My husband wanted to do the animation, so we had a wonderful collaboration—greatly enhanced by the guidance of Elyse Vincenty at Peachtree. Thank you so much to the amazing Nerdy Book Club for hosting the trailer for Bird Count! I’m so excited to share it with you!

 

Susan Edwards Richmond is the author of the children’s picture book, Bird Count (Peachtree) about a child who becomes a Citizen Scientist for a day in her town’s Christmas Bird Count.  A passionate birder and naturalist, Susan teaches preschool on a farm and wildlife sanctuary in eastern Massachusetts.  She earned her M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis, and is an award-winning poet with five collections of nature-based poetry for adults, including Before We Were Birds (Adastra Press) and Birding in Winter (Finishing Line Press). She is happiest exploring natural habitats with her husband and two daughters, and learns the native birds wherever she travels.