Breaking News
More () »

Knoxville Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WBIR.com

The Adventures of Zippy and Zoomer Hummingbirds

Reading is so important to one local author that he gives away copies of the children's book he writes.

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. 

Credit: WBIR

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. 

Credit: WBIR
The book features landmarks in Knoxville including The Sunsphere

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."

Credit: WBIR
Book cover The Adventures of Zippy and Zoomer Hummingbirds

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 kenmink@aol.com

The adventures will continue. He plans a sequel focused on the real-life migration of  ruby throated hummingbirds to Mexico.

RELATED: Roane State player realizes dream, breaks world record