If Tigers Disappeared

Illustrated by Lily Williams

“This area, located in the Eastern Ghats, is a lushly populated home to animals that jump, pounce, stomp, and ROAR!”

If Tigers Disappeared is a picturebook that accompanies its nonfiction text with a visual guiding narrative that follows two children as they explore the Biligiriranga Hills of India. The forest is home to all kinds of unique flora and fauna, but it is the Bengal tigers that capture the kids’ attention the most. The narration serves as an informative guide through their journey, offering insights into the lives of tigers. For most of the book, the text contemplates the potential consequences that would occur if the tigers were to disappear: “what might feel like a threat to a single animal population far away can actually have effects that reach your ecosystem as well.” At the end of the story, the children meet up with the indigenous Soliga tribe and join them in their festive celebration of the tiger. The book tells us to stand up for tigers, saying that “if we roar loud enough for them then maybe they’ll continue roaring in the wild forever.”

If Tigers Disappeared highlights the critical role of tigers in their ecosystem and advocates for their conservation as they face the threat of extinction. The book emphasizes tigers’ pivotal position as apex predators, explaining how their disappearance would trigger an ecosystem-wide trophic cascade. Without tigers there to maintain balance of the food web, many other plants and animals would be put at risk as well. This provides an excellent opportunity for teachers to delve into topics like keystone species, food chains, the web of life, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem interconnectedness. The author also brings up the human-caused challenges that have led the species to gain its endangered status. These include habitat loss due to land expansion and poaching driven by illegal wildlife trade. The book says that the best way we can help the tigers is by learning more about them and spreading conservation awareness. In fact, the story gives a special acknowledgement to indigenous people and their valuable contributions to environmental stewardship. The indigenous worldview promotes the idea of a peaceful coexistence between all living beings and nurtures harmony within ecosystems. The book also points out how indigenous communities face risk of being displaced from their ancestral lands, often by order of governments acting in the name of animal conservation. This segment can be used to educate students about the interconnectedness of environmental and social issues, instilling in readers a desire to learn more about both.

©2024 ClimateLit (Alexandra Delacruz)

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Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2022

Pages: 40

ISBN: 9781250232465

Audience: Little People (4-7), Questers (8-13)

Format: Nonfiction, Picturebooks

Topics: Apex Predator, Biodiversity Loss, Conservation, Earth Stewardship, Ecological Balance, Ecosystems, Endangered Species, Extinction, Food Chains, Food Webs, Habitat Loss, Human Expansionism, Indigenous Environmental Practices, Indigenous Worldview, Interconnectedness, Keystone Species, Poaching, Tigers, Trophic Cascade, Web of Life, Wildlife, Wildlife Trafficking

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