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Connecting with the animal world

-Submitted photo
Audrey Simonson’s children’s books in her Read-Aloud children’s series track the adventures of her cat, Sunshine, and Sunshine’s yarn toy.

ROLFE — With school closures extended and the lingering possibility of a finished school year due to coronavirus, children’s author Audrey Simonson says reading is more important than ever to allow a child’s mind to explore even while they’re cooped up by social distancing.

“It’s a way to open up your brain to thinking about something other than games or who you’re mad at,” Simonson, of Rolfe, said. “It takes you places you can’t go while cooped up in quarantine.”

To help with that, she’s making another effort to get the word out about her Sunshine Read-Aloud book series about Sunshine the cat and her toy, Mousey.

The series of three books with rhyming lines encourage children to find their own voice and connect with animals, the author said, following Sunshine in three titles: “Where Is Your Mousey?” “Oh, No… Not Again!” and “Your Mousey Needs a Bath.”

“I know two people who have had difficulty reading and it makes me sad that neither of them have the joy of getting into a story that takes them to some other place in the world, to some other time in history,” Simonson said. “Our personal world becomes much larger and more inclusive when we can read about other places and times, and can learn about other people in the world. Reading can make us better citizens of our community and world.”

-Submitted photo
Audrey Simonson’s children’s books in her Read-Aloud children’s series track the adventures of her cat, Sunshine, and Sunshine’s yarn toy.

The series, inspired by the orange cat and her yarn toy that appeared out of nowhere, follows Sunshine’s interaction with just one small corner of the world in her Pocahontas County home.

“It just happened,” Simonson said, “and the words just started coming out.”

The toy got its name after the author noticed that she carried it around like a mouse.

She said that reading to children is particularly important now to keep their spark for learning and reading alive, something she takes pride in.

“To me, writing a story with rhyming verses means I found a voice that children and adults can read aloud,” said Simonson. “Their voice helps them connect with the animal world and see that they’re not so much different from us. They have fears, problems, they find joy in things.”

Simonson envisions more stress in families as school closures continue, hoping that a resurgence in reading can kill two birds with one stone.

Simson’s books can be purchased in hard copy or Kindle format online by their titles at Amazon, or directly from Simonson via email at audrey@ncn.net.

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