While visiting friends in Kathmandu, Grant and his sister spent time exploring other parts of the country. The highlight of their trip was the time they spent exploring Chitwan National Park. It was like a real-life Jungle Book, with wild elephants, tigers, rhinos, and monkeys roaming the forests and rivers.
Each morning, Grant would climb onto an elephant’s back and go trekking through the trees. On these outings, he often encountered wild rhinos and was amazed by their size and power.
Grant and his sister visited a small village near Chitwan one day and were blown away by the friendliness of the charming children.
At one point, as the group walked past the village’s farmlands, the guide pointed to trails leading from the trees. He said it was where rhinos would come out of the jungle at night to eat the crops. He explained that in this village, the children would sometimes stand guard at night to try to stop the rhinos from destroying the crops.
Impressed by the children's bravery, Grant began forming the idea for a story. As he sat in the airport in Kathmandu, waiting to fly home, he wrote the first draft of Rhino Trouble on a piece of scrap paper.
A decade later, Rhino Trouble is now available online and in bookstores across the country. In honor of the incredible children who inspired it, Grant is donating all his proceeds from this book to The Umbrella Foundation, an international charity that provides housing, healthcare and education for at-risk children.
Grant and Mike are currently working on their next picture book, which will take readers on a hair-raising adventure in the Himalayas.
Like Rhino Trouble, this story was inspired by people Grant met during his travels in Nepal. And, as with Rhino Trouble, Grant is committed to using this new book as a way to raise awareness of the challenges facing the children of Nepal.
A few years ago, Grant and his family went on an unforgettable adventure in Germany. Their goal was to locate the crash site of a WWII fighter plane and see if they could recover any wreckage. The plane, a P-47 Thunderbolt, had been piloted by Grant's great-uncle, Grant Turley. Yes, Grant is named after his great-uncle. And although he never met him in person, Grant has always looked up to him as a hero.
Grant Turley was a fighter pilot based out of England during the war. He took part in one of the largest bombing raids in history on March 6, 1944. Tragically, he was shot down during the attack and the details of his death were never known.
In 2012, a German military researcher contacted Grant's family with news that he may have identified the crash site. Grant's family traveled to Germany to join forces with a team of researchers at the site. Incredibly, they were able to recover multiple remnants from the plane. Grant brought these precious items back to the United States and gave them to Grant Turley’s four siblings.
For the complete story, you can read the three-part series of articles Grant wrote about the experience: