Retired chiropractor-turned-author Gene Crumbley has enjoyed taking pictures of birds for more than two decades. He decided to turn his hobby into a book so he could share his passion with others.
“I didn’t start thinking about writing a book until about 21 years ago,” he said. “It took me so long because I wanted to put in pictures of birds I’ve taken over the years.”
Crumbley, 94, of McDonough, recently released his latest work, titled Birds: Our Fine Feathered Friends, Seen By Sue and Drew.
“The story is a children’s book, but it’s amazing how adults love it,” said Crumbley. “It’s about a fictitious boy and girl. They couldn’t go out and play on a cold and windy day, so they sat on the windowsill and watched birds as they came into the backyard and trees. The story also includes birds they saw in other places. The mom and dad are fictitious, but other characters and places are real.”
The book contains a series of eight-line poems, as well as a series of quizzes to help readers identify types of birds.
Crumbley said he was inspired to write the book, in part, after reading an article in Birds and Blooms Magazine.
“I was reading a story about a man who built a bird feeder for two kids who moved in next door to him,” said Crumbley. “I thought it would be nice for kids to have a book that told more about birds in a simple way. That’s where I came up with the eight-line poems.
“I had started taking a few pictures of birds before I had the book in mind,” continued Crumbley. “Even at 94 ½ years old, I have to stay busy. I can’t just sit around doing nothing.”
Crumbley himself took the majority of the photos included in the book. He is quick to point out that he gives credit, on the back of the book and online, to family members and friends who took additional pictures for the book.
Crumbley’s past children’s books include Inky the Octopus, which he wrote after reading an item in an Atlanta newspaper about an octopus that escaped from an aquarium in New Zealand. He also wrote A Little Boy and His Train, inspired by his grandson Craig’s love of locomotives and train shows.
Crumbley previously authored a pair of books centered on his Christian faith – Bible Stories in Rhyme and A Rhyme a Day Helps Keep the Devil Away. In 2013, Crumbley created a cookbook based on recipes by his late wife Norma. To date, more than 2,000 copies of the cookbook have been sold. Crumbley said he is grateful for the way readers have responded to his books over the years.
“This is number six for me,” he said. “I interrupted my bird book to do the train book. It’s been quite a journey, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Every one of them seems to be appreciated by people. None of them took off like I thought they would, but I didn’t do it for the money. I just enjoyed doing it. [With] each one of these books, I’ve actually made my money back and then some.”
In addition to helping readers of all ages to learn more about birds, Crumbley said he wants to use his book to point others to God.
“God gave me this talent, and I want to use it to glorify Him,” he said. “I hope and pray that people will be encouraged, and it will bring joy into their lives.”
The book is available in hardback, softback and Kindle forms, by ordering from venues including Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.