At right is the cover of the second book from our publishing arm, Ruka Press: Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for A Vanishing Songbird by Katie Fallon. Cerulean Blues describes the plight of the cerulean warbler, a tiny migratory songbird, and its struggle to survive in ever-shrinking bands of suitable habitat. This elusive creature, a favorite among bird watchers and the fastest-declining warbler species in the United States, has lost 3% of its total population each year since 1966. This precipitous decline means that today there are 80% fewer ceruleans than 40 years ago, and their numbers continue to drop because of deforestation, global warming, and mountaintop removal coal mining. With scientific rigor and a sense of wonder, Fallon leads readers on a journey of more than two thousand miles–from the forest canopy in the ancient mountains of Appalachia to a coffee plantation near troubled BogotÃ¡, Colombia–and shows how the fate of a creature weighing less than an ounce is vitally linked to our own.
The book will be out in October and galleys are being printed right now. The challenge for the cover was to have an attractive photo of the featured songbird (recently seen in closeup on the cover of Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom) and still convey that the book is a narrative, not a field guide or biology text. We decided to take a beautiful photo by Brian Small of the cerulean warbler and perch it proudly on the title. This creates a mix of beauty and quirkiness that matches the unique tone of the book.
The first book from Ruka Press, Among the Ancients: Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests by Joan Maloof, is available now. You can read a sample chapter at the website. And incidentally, we also rebuilt the Ruka Press website from the ground up over the winter. Check it out, and be sure to join the Ruka Press mailing list to keep up to date with our releases, author appearances, and to get special discounts.