Bird Count

by Susan Edwards Richmond (Author) Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Illustrator)

Bird Count
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

The National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count stars in this charming picture book, just right for young citizen scientists, bird watchers, and nature aficionados.

"A wonderful introduction to bird-watching and the concept of observing nature... Parents be warned: this book is so appealing that, come next December, you may find yourself out in the cold, counting birds." ―Booklist Online

For the New England Christmas Bird Count, young Ava and her mother prepare to be the best "citizen scientists" they can be. With the help of their team leader Big Al, they record the tally of all the birds they see. Ava dutifully counts all the birds along the way, using her most important tools―her eyes and ears―and the birding identification techniques she's learned. But will she locate her favorite raven again this year in time for their town's annual Christmas Bird Count party?

Author Susan Edwards Richmond introduces young readers to birdwatching with simple explanations of birdwatching techniques and clear descriptions of bird habitats. Stephanie Fizer Coleman's charming illustrations add color and context to a joyful story that's sure to inspire the citizen scientist in us all.

Backmatter includes more information about all the birds featured in the book and about the Christmas Bird Count, the nation's longest-running community science bird project.

Teacher's Guide available!

Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens

Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award

Publishers Weekly

This picture book, informed by the author's own decades of experience as a birder, follows Ava, her mother, and Big Al, the leader of their Christmas Bird Count team, as they travel around town recording the birds they see and hear for the annual winter census. A notebook sidebar itemizing Ava's tallies is a welcome design element, allowing curious readers to keep track of the birds alongside the trio of citizen scientists. Back matter provides further details on the species featured, the importance of the Christmas Bird Count, and information on how to join one of the National Audubon Society's count circles. While a bit hefty as a readaloud ("I saw one two years ago, but not last year"), younger readers may enjoy counting the birds in Coleman's textured digital illustrations, which portray humans and birds in a friendly style. An instructive and attractive picture book for aspiring ornithologists and young nature aficionados. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-5--Ava and her mother help with the annual Christmas Bird Count every year, where they join forces with other members of their community to note the birds they see in and around their neighborhood. This year is special: Ava gets to be in charge of keeping track of the birds they see and hear. The data they collect will help scientists understand patterns in the lives of the many birds in the world. Along with their team captain, Big Al, the three embark on a journey of identification and study that culminates in a celebration with other teams in their count circle. Soft, detailed illustrations bring the winter world to life, depict many bird species, and capture the sounds and feelings of a chilly winter day. Readers will love searching for birds along with Ava and her companions. A running tally at the far right side of the pages helps readers keep track of the birds they have seen. VERDICT This book introduces elementary school readers to the world of birds and citizen science in an accessible, welcoming way.--Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver Public Library

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Clever design... Count guidelines are smoothly worked into Richmond's narrative... An engaging, informative introduction. " —Kirkus Reviews
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2019

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