An experience with a stranded baby bird inspired the children's book To Save a Mockingbird. The author also developed an interactive website to encourage children to read and write. www.burrdee.com

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The creators of a children's book are signing copies of their book Thursday afternoon from 3:00 to 6:00 at the Maynardville Public Library.

Their non-fiction book that's both interesting and educational. It's the true story of a family and a mockingbird.

"It explains the life story of the bird and how we taught it to fly," author Dianne Swisher said.

When they used to live in Florida, Dianne Swisher and her children found a baby mockingbird in the middle of the street and took it home.

"Did some research and learned that you can't really raise wild animals at home as well as its parents can raise it but we had no way to get the bird back in the nest," she explained.

Her husband took pictures of the baby mockingbird and documented what happened next, step by step.

"We moved the bird in a little cage outside and the parents of the bird started coming in to the actual cage feeding, bringing food to the bird," she said.

Years later, she decided to write a book. She just so happened to have a creative friend who also lives in Maynardville, Marty McConnaughey.

"She had told me about the story of the mockingbird and it was just a heartfelt story and so when she approached me with that I said well I've never done children's illustrations before. And she said let's try it and I said all right I will," Marty McConnaughey said.

The photographs inspired her as she illustrated the children's book: To Save a Mockingbird.

"It's been fun. It's been fun. I'm enjoying it," she said.

Dianne said, "Marty's great to work with."

They both hope To Save a Mockingbird touches children.

"Being able to read a story, just to get that enjoyment, and to see the love that they had for this little bird and the love of the parents of the bird that they will enjoy it," Marty said.

To draw children in to the joy of reading and writing they've developed some fun features on their website.

"On the website they can come and submit a story, maybe a backyard animal, with pictures and a picture of them, and if they submit that to us then we will put that on the website," Dianne said. "The name of the bird is Burr Dee. B-U-R-R-D-E-E and that's also the name of the website."

Dianne also shares her love of writing and reading with school children directly. She shows them drafts of the book and explaining the writing process.

"It is a non-fiction and when I go to the schools I talk about the difference between writing a fiction story and and non-fiction, Everything has to be validated and authenticated," she said.

Dianne may follow up the book about Burr Dee the mockingbird with some of her other backyard animal tales about Pete the chicken and Sparkle the bunny and Strawberry the turtle... to interest children in reading.

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