For author Tory Christie, writing a children's picture book, geared toward the littlest of readers, challenged her in ways she wasn't expecting. Christie focused on keeping the text simple while still conveying a story about how important every being's place is in the world. Then her publisher Amicus Ink found an illustrator who brought the story to life through beautiful pictures, and her "Big Blue Earth" series came to life.

The second book, "A Little Round Panda on the Big Blue Earth", debuted in August, just two years after the first "A Tiny Brown Monkey on the Big Blue Earth".

"I wanted something for younger readers, and I wanted kids to understand space," Christie explained. "These books focus on putting something very small like a monkey or panda in a big world, so I wanted a child to be able to realize that he or she takes up a special spot on this earth, and that we're all connected through it."

Christie also hopes the books inspire readers to appreciate nature and enjoy it as much as possible, while also learning about animals and places they may not know much about.

Christie is also the author of the "Curious McCarthy" series which features a young scientist and her scientific adventures, most of which are based on Christie's own childhood explorations. When she isn't writing children's books, Christie is a research scientist who works for the U.S. Geological Survey and recently completed her Ph.D in environmental and conservation science at NDSU.

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Christie will be celebrating her Bison roots as well as her publishing success during NDSU's Homecoming. She is one of the featured authors at the NDSU Bookstore's Regional Writer Showcase from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 8.

Her books are available at NDSU as well as Zandbroz, Barnes & Noble, Amazon as well as her own website.

Teachers or librarians interested in inviting Christie to speak to their students are invited to send a message through her website at www.torychristie.com.