Just because the idea was perfect didn’t mean the process was. Moeller said her first draft was far too “hand holding” in getting the message across. She reached out to Jewell Rhodes, the former director of ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, for help. Rhodes then connected Moeller with Brooke Bessesen, who gave her advice that helped polish the piece. From there, Moeller sent the manuscript to family and friends who have young kids to get their feedback.

As for the illustrations, Moeller turned to ASU alumna Sabine Deviche, who worked at ASU as a graphic specialist and was a member of the School of Life Sciences Visualization Lab. Deviche agreed to help with the passion project and even explored watercolors for the first time while creating the art.

Moeller and Deviche also managed to sneak some real science into the book, as they both learned from Kazilek. The art is littered with various animals and plants native to Australia, and there’s a glossary that introduces them all in a way children can understand. Moeller and Deviche also consulted with ASU faculty members, including Moeller’s doctoral advisor, Dale DeNardo, to make sure the animals and plants included were likely to be found in the same habitat.

The duo isn’t done either, and are already planning their next book. According to Moeller, their next piece will focus on different family types in an effort to show children that there is no such thing as a “normal” type when it comes to families.

Those interested in buying “Joryn Looked Up” can find it on Amazon or request it as a special order from their local bookstore. It is currently available in both English and French.

Jason Krell

Communication and events coordinator, Center for Evolution and Medicine