Charles W. Norris-Brown, writer, illustrator, anthropologist and educator…

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My academic background is anthropology but now I prefer to write and illustrate children’s books. My first book, Did Tiger Take the Rain? was published by Green Writers Press  in November of 2016. This website is about that book, my next book in progress, ongoing projects, and a little about myself. Check out the Blog for updates and discussion.

I was raised in the woods. Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow, inspired by my neighbors the Seneca Nation of Iroquois, I lived the lure of the forest as much as a boy in northern Pennsylvania could. The woods and farms I grew up around taught me hard labor. But they also shared with me the salt of the earth, discovery, curiosity, and an increasing fascination with the wider world.

My college years started out in the arts at Penn State and ended up with a PhD in Social Anthropology from Lund University in Sweden. My academic fieldwork took me from England to India. My post-dostoral work combined further on-site studies in South Asia with a connection to some leading thinkers in non-linear systems modeling in Europe. Like having one foot among farmers and wood hicks as a child, from 1984 to 1992, my academic life combined numerous visits to the villages and forests of South and Southeast Asia along with the heady theorizing of leading figures in physics and mathematics.

A common ground was to link the lives of everyday people with the challenges of environmental sustainability. The people taught me humility. The challenges taught me to question — to see the forests for the trees. What I have learned I have carried into my years of retirement and I hope they provide the foundation for my work now. It is a wisdom that reminds us to listen with our heart to the words of the world; know that art can be both a path into beauty as much as one into inquiry; know that science can lead to truth by asking the right questions.

In my later years, after a touch of experience as a blue collar worker, union organizer, and artist activist, I have made a major refocus. I have decided to dig deeply into the wisdom and experience I feel has accompanied me to find ways to combine them with art in a way that is appealing and approachable to children and young people. The turning point was in 1999, while on an exploratory fieldwork trip to the Corbett Tiger Reserve in India. My goal was to set up an applied research project, but when I asked local people what they thought I should do, seeing I was an artist, they suggested that I write and illustrate children’s books.

Let me draw from the deep well of my life as anthropologist, cross-cultural communicator, deep thinker, artist and worshiper of all that is truth behind the facade, and reach out to share my wisdom with children and young people in ways that help them find within themselves the means to make the world a better place.