Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Next Kaufman Field Guide!

"Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific - and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien."

                     -- John Keats, 1816

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: The verse above, the latter half of a sonnet, represented Keats's reaction after first reading the George Chapman translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.  In modern language, Keats might have written, "Whoa!  This knocked my socks off!"  But fortunately he didn't.  His historically inaccurate, but surely vivid, reaction is still being quoted two centuries later as an example of how a work of literature can produce a powerful emotional response. 

We thought about this last night, when we looked at a new book for the first time.  This is a really brand-new book: it hasn't been published yet, won't be out officially until October 16th, but the very first bound copies have just arrived.  And we can't help but have an emotional response to this book.  After all, we wrote it.




Kim Writes:  Today, I felt as though I wrote a song with Paul McCartney, climbed a mountain with Sir Edmond Hillary, discussed the power of the mind over the body with Rene Descartes, and wrote a speech with Martin Luther King.  I danced with Fred Astaire, rode a bus with Rosa Parks, sang a song with Adele, ran a relay race with Flo Jo, and chased villains with Batman. 

---In other words: I wrote a book with my hero, Kenn Kaufman. 


When Kenn and I announced to my family that we were going to write a book together, they were genuinely happy for me.  But to be honest, I'm not sure they could fully grasp what it meant for me to write a book with my Kenn. They are honest, hard-working people, and while we differ on some views of the world, we share a deep and abiding love for each other that can conquer any social or political divide.  


After our book announcement, my youngest brother Aaron drew my name in the family's Christmas gift exchange. The gift he chose for me was a lovely shadow box, and with the gift was a hand-written card that I will treasure for the rest of my life.  In the card, Aaron said he thought this box would be a nice way to display my first published book.  And then, my little brother: the hardworking, tough as nails construction worker and football coach, ---said he was proud of me.  He will never know what that meant to me. 


So, what do ya think, Aaron?  
Looks pretty great in there, doesn't it?!?!


Even our cat Kirby can't wait to read the book!  

Kenn and I had so much fun working on this book.  We spent many glorious hours exploring New England looking for anything that might catch the average nature enthusiast's eye.  We ate A LOT of clam chowder (my mouth is watering just thinking about it), played in tidal pools like a couple of kids, and searched and searched and searched for the mythical moose.  (Which I have STILL yet to see!).  Many of the people that helped us on it are near and dear to our hearts, making the book all that much more special. Many of my team at Black Swamp Bird Observatory participated in one way or another, and we were thrilled to work with Ken Keffer, Eric Eaton, and Eric Snyder.  Ken wrote the habitat section, Eric E. wrote the insect section, and Eric S. wrote the geology section - and they are wonderfully written. 

Many aspects of natural history are illustrated for the first time in any publication using Kenn's method of digitally enhancing photos and trimming them from their backgrounds, creating digital illustrations. I am particularly happy with the way the wildflower and tree sections look using this method.











And, of course, the book includes some of my husband's wit.  For instance, in the fish section, the text for Black Crappie reads, "A popular fish, despite what its name might suggest to the uninitiated (it's pronounced like croppy, not crappy!)." 

Right now, the book feels more like a dream than reality. I've held it in my hands over and over, poring over the pages and trying to wrap my head around the idea that I can lay partial claim to it.  I don't know if I will ever be able to express to Kenn how much it means that he would share this book with me.  He has worked nearly all of his adult life on writing books and articles that will encourage more people to fall in love with nature. In essence, he is sharing his entire world with me, now, and I am supremely humbled by this measure of faith.  

The book isn't available just yet; the official release date is October 16th. I hope readers will find this book fun, engaging, and ultimately very useful in the field.  I know I can't wait to get back to New England and give it a good field test!  And who knows, maybe it will help me find a moose!

29 comments:

  1. I am happy for you, Kim! It looks like a terrific book.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lynne! I still can't believe it's real!

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  2. <3 I'm incredibly happy for you both; I can see how much it means to y'all, especially you Kimmer, and I'm so excited to see it in stores!

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    1. Kristina: You have been such a source of inspiration to me and Kenn. We owe this book, in part, to you, for giving us such hope for the future of all the wild things and natural paces that we hold so dear. Thank you!

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  3. Can't wait for it to come out! Will def get it! :D

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    1. Thanks so much, Fyn! We hope you'll like it!

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  4. Reserve a copy for me! (But don't count on the moose. ☺ )

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    1. Barb Padgett: We would be so honored to give you a copy! You have been a friend to me in times of great need, and as I told Kristina Polk, I owe this book's existence, in part, to your friendship!

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  5. This looks fantastic, can't wait to put it next to all the other Kaufman guides I have, but this one will be in front, since by both of you.

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    1. Dan Huber: Your comment means the world to me! Thank you so much!

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  6. "Trees with cool leaves?" I'm getting it.

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    1. Thanks, Jason! I love that Kenn titled that section that way!

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  7. Congrats, you two! Can't wait to order it!
    And hopefully we'll get to meet you too, Kimberly, when you're in our neck of the woods in October.

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  8. Just got back from Maine, and did not see a moose either! But did play in tidal pools, climb rocks, eat lobster, and cruise up the coastline. Wish this book would have been out; looking forward to it now...for when I go back again!

    Linda Pierce
    RTPI

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    1. Thanks so much for reading our blog and taking time to leave such a nice comment, Linda! There's just something about New England that gets in your soul, isn't there?!

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  9. This looks amazing, and your accompanying narrative was thoroughly charming. Your talent as a writer and story-teller deserves to be in a book : )

    Now, I just need to move to New England so I can put a copy to good use...

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    1. Ohmygoodness, Laurence...You just totally made my day! Thank you so much for the kind words. I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity to work with my best friend and my hero on books that will (hopefully) help teach people about how cool nature truly is.
      Thanks again,

      kimberly

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  10. Congrats, Kenn and Kimberly! Of course, it looks like another outstanding entry in the KFG series. I could certainly use some help in identifying plants. I wonder if you'll be unleashing a new edition of your Field Guide to Birds of NA anytime soon... Anyway, you guys rock.

    Kevin

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  11. Hi Kevin!

    Thanks for the kind words! We're pretty pumped about the new book! For one thing, it means we get to come back to New England to promote it! Yes, sometime in the near future we'll need to update the bird guide. With all of the AOU changes, we've got some work to do!

    Thanks again,

    KImberly

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  12. Oh boy, oh boy, I can't wait :-) Keep up the great work you two!

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    1. I can't wait to send you a copy, Eric! Thank you so much for being a major contributor. I really like the way the acknowledgements are done in this book, and I think you'll like it, too!

      Love to you and Heidi!

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  13. You know how I feel about you and Kenn and this is just another example of that. I'm happy that you are so happy to have written a book with your husband and I'm glad I can call you both my friends. I can't wait to get this new book to add to my collection that will have both of your names on it!

    Jeff Loughman

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    1. We feel very blessed to call *you* our friend, Jeff! I love Birding Ohio, but I'm even more thankful for the fact that birds brought YOU into our lives!

      Can't wait to give you a copy of the book!

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  14. Wow! Congratulations on your first book, Kim! It must have been so fun to write it with your soulmate! I'll buy it as soon as it hits the shelves!

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    1. Oh, Kelly, thank you so much! I still can't believe that it's real. Thanks for being so great and for all that you do for birds. Kenn and I are such huge fans of yours and it means a lot to us to know that you read our blog!

      Hope to see you somewhere soon.

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  15. You two look like such a happy couple, and are blessed to be able to share so much together. Congratulations on the book, it looks great!

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  16. thank you for the talk last night in cambridge! thought ken's comment about "i didn't get really into birding until I was six, so I'm trying to make up for lost time" was very funny; and kimberly's enthusiasm about tide pools as a looking glass into another world was compelling. Excited to have your new book and gift it to my nephew Justin in hopes he will explore the great swamp and more. good luck on your quest to observe a minimum of 350 species on this trip, be they the ones you hoped to see or ones startling and unexpected

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