MARYVILLE, Tenn. — A couple from Maryville experienced something wonderful at Ijams Nature Center
"They were banding little hummingbirds. And we were so struck by the delicacy of these little birds and all the things that they can do. They are amazing birds," Ken Mink said.
Those amazing birds inspired Ken Mink to write a children's book: The Adventures of Zippy and Zoomer Hummingbirds."
"It's not only a fun book but also puts children in tune with nature and creates a more solid citizen. They learn a lot of moral lessons in this book," he said.
The story of the two little birds takes place in Knoxville. There's a race around the Sunsphere and a visit to Ijams.
Ken Mink was a journalist for almost six decades, including a stint at the Knoxville New Sentinel. When he retired he decided to keep writing. He's published 25 books on a variety of topics. The children's book is special to him.
"I think that's the very best thing a child can do is to become a very good reader."
In fact, while the book is available at the Ijams Nature Center books store and on Amazon, he makes a point to give it away. If Ken and Emily Mink see a family at dinner "I'll go up and ask the parents would you like your child to have this book and they say, oh yeah, great."
He started the Hummingbird Fund. All revenue from sales of the Zippy and Zoomer book goes to the fund then that money goes toward purchasing the books to give away.
"My goal is to find 30,000 children in East Tennessee and southeast Kentucky that I can get this book in their hand. I've already got it in the hand of 300 of them. I'm working on getting the rest of that 30,000," he said.
For more information about the Hummingbird Fund email firstname.lastname@example.org
The adventures will continue. He plans a sequel focused on the real-life migration of ruby throated hummingbirds to Mexico.