Many Bartow County residents know about Randi Sonenshine's children's book, but it will be garnering statewide attention this week.
The Cartersville Middle School teacher was invited to read her creation, "The Nest That Wren Built," during Georgia Audubon's inaugural Virtual Story Hour Friday at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom.
"I am thrilled and honored that I was asked to do this," Sonenshine said. "The Atlanta Audubon just became the Georgia Audubon a couple weeks ago, unifying all the other chapters throughout the state. One of their goals is to provide high-quality educational programs and virtual events, especially with so many children at home now with digital learning. Virtual storytime events are, of course, not the same as in-person, but I've hosted or participated in several throughout the last five months, and with a 'live' audience, it can be very fun and engaging for both me and the participants."
The author also added she's "extremely grateful to Cartersville City Schools for allowing me to do this and to the Georgia Audubon for hosting the event."
Sonenshine said she reached out to Melanie Furr, the director of education at Georgia Audubon, in March to "ask if she would allow me to do a Zoom interview with her about nesting birds as part of my virtual book launch week" at the Cartersville Public Library.
"She graciously agreed, and we shared this via the library's Facebook page, along with other events during my launch week, which was the week of Earth Day in April," she said. "Then, a few weeks ago, she reached out to me with the invitation to be the guest author for this event."
Furr said she "loved the book and was delighted to partner with Randi to share a wonderful story and inspire curiosity about birds."
"We were thrilled that she was willing to do a reading of 'The Nest That Wren Built' for our inaugural storytime event, which will also include some inspiration for a fun nest-building activity that children can do at home for a chance to win a copy of the book signed by the author," she said.
During the half-hour presentation — which will be done from CMS and the audubon's offices in Atlanta — Sonenshine said she will be sharing details on how and why she wrote the book "as well as some interesting facts about Carolina wrens and their incredibly complex and ingenious nests before the read-aloud."
"I'll also share a real wren's nest and then point out some fun things to look and listen for during the reading," she said, noting participants will be able to ask questions during the Zoom session. "During the reading, I'll pose some questions, which children — or grown-ups — will be able to answer using the chat box feature."
After the reading, Furr will show "some real nests built by other birds," then Education Program Coordinator Kiana Leveritte and Sonenshine will "describe and launch a STEM challenge [Build a Better Bird's Nest] and makerspace activity for participants to do at home," the author said.
"We will also explain how participants can be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the book signed by me and the illustrator, Anne Hunter," she added.
To be entered in the drawing, participants will have to build their own nests, post pictures on their social media and tag Sonenshine and Georgia Audubon.
The author said the session "would be great" for children ages 4-8 and their parents at home "but also for teachers in classrooms to join in with their students."
"It addresses quite a few of the science standards, particularly the life cycle and growth of living things, as well as how they interact with their environment and rely on it for food, water and shelter," she said. "On my website, www.randisonenshine.com, I have links to many different science and STEM projects and lessons as well as to my Pinterest board, which includes crafts, recipes and other fun bird-themed activities."
To register for the free event, visit http://ow.ly/XT8k50AZWZN.
Participants will need the Zoom link to join the storytime — https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Dg4HXIZKQamzsoAlk9wMOg.
The link also will be posted on the Georgia Audubon Facebook page and on Sonenshine's social media and website.
Signed copies of the book can be purchased at Canopy Home Decor/Write! Downtown or through online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.