- Did Tiger Take the Rain? Green Writers Press, $19.95. Ages 6-10
As an anthropologist, Burlington resident Charles Norris-Brown traveled the world doing fieldwork related to conservation. While in India in 1999 with Project Tiger, he asked locals how he could help promote forest and tiger preservation. Their answer? Write and illustrate a children's book. Fast-forward 17 years: In October, Norris-Brown's first picture book, Did Tiger Take the Rain?, was published by Vermont-based Green Writers Press. The story, set in a village in Nepal, focuses on two young girls who journey into the forest to ask the tiger why the weather has been so hot and dry. On the way, they meet a jackal and a monkey, who help the children understand the interconnectedness of people, animals and their habitat and give them seeds to plant. Norris-Brown spent a month in Nepal doing research for the book — interviewing Nepali people about their folklore and attitudes about tigers, and taking thousands of photos on which his watercolor illustrations are based. Three tigers are hidden in the pictures for younger children to find, and a teacher's page provides additional resources. Ultimately, says Norris-Brown, his goal is to "try to share what I know about things with children, but to do it in a way that's fun."