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 only started thinking about writing a book about 21 years ago,” he said. “It took me so long because I wanted to put up pictures of birds I’ve taken over the years.”
Crumbley, 94, from McDonough, recently published her latest book, titled Birds: Our Fine Feathered Friends, Seen By Sue and Drew.
“The story is a children’s book, but it’s amazing how much adults love it,” Crumbley said. “It’s about a fictional boy and girl. They couldn’t get out and play on a cold, windy day, so they sat on the windowsill and watched the birds come into the garden and trees. The story also includes birds they saw in other places. Mom and Dad are fictional, but other characters and locations 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 about a man who built a bird feeder for two kids who moved in next door to him,” Crumbley said. “I thought it would be good for children to have a book that tells more about birds in a simple way. That’s where I found the eight-line poems.
“I had started taking a few pictures of birds before I had the book in mind,” Crumbley continued. “Even at 94 and a half, I have to keep busy. I can’t 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 photos for the book.
Crumbley’s past children’s books include Inky the Octopus, which he wrote after reading an article 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 railway shows.
Crumbley previously wrote 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 from his late wife Norma. To date, over 2,000 copies of the cookbook have been sold. Crumbley said he is grateful for how readers have responded to his books over the years.
“It’s number six for me,” he said. “I interrupted my book on birds to do the book on the train. It was quite a trip, and I enjoyed every minute of it. All of them seem to be liked by people. None of them took off the way I thought they would, but I didn’t do it for the money. I just liked doing it. [With] each of these books, I actually got my money back and more.
In addition to helping readers of all ages 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 to their lives.”
The book is available as a hardcover, softcover and Kindle, by ordering it from sites such as Walmart, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.