Clear Sky, Red Earth tells the story of life in Dolpo through the eyes of Namsel, a young girl who grows up to be a great painter several centuries ago. Dolpo is one of the world’s highest settled areas, a region culturally like Tibet, but located within the nation of Nepal.
Tenzin Nurbu, the artist whose paintings illustrate this book, comes from a long line of painters. One of the famous painters in Norbu’s family history was a woman like Namsel, the main character in this book.
Norbu’s work has appeared in several international publications, including Caravans of the Himalaya, National Geographic magazine, and the feature film, “Himalaya”, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1999. Norbu is the illustrator of three children’s books, including Himalaya: L’enfance d’un Chef (Milan, Paris: 2000).
Sienna Craig, the writer of this story, has spent many years exploring Mustang and Dolpo and has learned to speak Tibetan and Nepali. Sienna and Norbu have traveled together in Dolpo. They both love to tell stories and decided to tell Namsel’s tale in both pictures and words. We hope you enjoy it!
Clear Sky, Red Earth: A Himalayan Story is a tale of life in Dolpo, a region on the border with Tibet, but located within the nation of Nepal. The book tells the story of Namsel, a young girl who lived in Dolpo several centuries ago, and who grows up to be a great painter. Tenzin Norbu, the artist whose paintings illustrate this book, hails from a long lineage of Dolpo painters. One of the renowned artists in his family was a woman like Namsel. As such, Clear Sky, Red Earth is a story born from the real-life experience of Tenzin Norbu, the oral and written history of Dolpo and the kingdom of Lo (Mustang), both culturally Tibetan regions of northern Nepal, and from the imaginations of author and illustrator, friends who share a love for this region’s history and culture, as well as for storytelling. Clear Sky, Red Earth is intended for readers ages 7-12, but can also be enjoyed by big kids!
Tenzin Norbu’s work is featured in museums and private collections in Europe and the United States, as well as several international publications including Caravans of the Himalaya, National Geographic magazine, and the feature film “Himalaya”, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1999. Tenzin Norbu is the illustrator of three previous children’s books, including Himalaya: Rise of a Chief and Himalaya: Secret of the Snow Leopard. Norbu divides his time between Dolpo and Kathmandu, where he lives with his mother, wife, and four children.
Sienna Craig has been traveling to Nepal and Tibet since 1993, and has spent several years living in the remote villages of Dolpo and Mustang. She has worked as an anthropologist, freelance writer, translator, development consultant, and educator, and is currently completing her Ph.D. in medical and cultural anthropology at Cornell University. Sienna has written for popular publications including Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Shambhala Sun, Explorer’s Journal, and Natural History, as well as academic journals and anthologies. A Sacred Geography: Sonnets of The Himalaya and Tibet, a limited-edition artist’s book in collaboration with Mary Heebner, will be published this year (see www.maryheebner.com). This is her first book for children. Sienna lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband and daughter.
A portion of the profits from the sale of Clear Sky, Red Earth will help to support projects in Dolpo and Mustang, funded by Drokpa www.drokpa.org, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to partner with pastoral communities in the Himalaya and Tibet to implement grassroots development and catalyze social entrepreneurship.
Clear Sky, Red Earth is available in the US through Snow Lion Publications. To order, please visit Snow Lion’s website (www.snowlionpub.com listed under Tibetan Culture/Children’s Corner), or contact Sienna Craig directly. A discount is available to bookstores and Buddhist centers.
For those in Nepal, Clear Sky, Red Earth can be purchased through Tenzin Norbu or Mera Publications as well as in select Kathmandu bookstores.