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About Brooke

Author & Illustrator

Brooke is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has received many honors and awards for her work, including the Judy Goddard Children's Author/Illustrator Award from Libraries Limited. Her most recent work is Zachary Z. Packrat Backpacks the Grand Canyon, illustrated by nationally syndicated cartoonist Jenny Campbell. Like their previous book Zachary Z. Packrat and His Amazing Collections—a Grand Canyon Reader Award nominee and Phoenix Public Library Project GOAL book—it offers romping wordplay about a packrat who collects too much stuff.

Brooke's picture book, Look Who Lives in the Desert! is an Accelerated Reader™. It received the Glyph Award for Best Children's Nonfiction and Southwest Books of the Year Top Pick for Kids, and appeared on the cover of Publisher's Weekly. That title was followed by Look Who Lives in the Ocean!, which also became a powerful school resource.

Look Who Lives in the Desert! on the cover of Publishers Weekly
Look Who Lives in the Desert! on the cover of Publishers Weekly

Invertebrates is a set of three nonfiction leveled readers (low, mid and high) with supplemental Quick Reads.

Exhibits of Brooke's writing, artwork and creative processes have been displayed at several large city libraries around the Southwest, including Phoenix Burton Barr, Scottsdale Civic Center Library, Denver Public Library, and the Las Vegas Sahara West Library. In addition to her books, she has contributed dozens of essays to newspapers, magazines, websites and blogs, as well as scholarly articles in the field of conservation science.


"In the great tradition of 18th century naturalists and adventurers, Brooke Bessesen travels the world to study animals. Swimming in the oceans off Costa Rica, the British West Indies, Tahiti and Hawaii with all manner of large marine fauna, and traveling on safari in Africa she strives to satisfy a curiosity about wildlife that has simmered since childhood." —Gail Cochrane, interviewer

Brooke started as a certified veterinary technician and keeper at the Phoenix Zoo animal hospital. She also appeared on local and national television with animals as the zoo's on-camera naturalist. That is where she gained hands-on experience with hundreds of species—mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.

Lark and Brookie
Lark and Brookie

Nowadays Brooke's wildlife work is mainly conservation research, done in the field where she can directly connect with nature. She recently conducted a bi-seasonal marine sighting survey in Golfo Dulce, a remote Costa Rican embayment, documenting whales, dolphins and sea turtles among other species.

Educational Speaker

To support teachers in the classroom, Brooke created 100+ pages of free curriculum and activities for grades k-8. When she is not in the field or writing, Brooke shares her passion for science and literacy with a wide range of audiences. From school visits to lectures to writing workshops, Brooke is a versatile and enthusiastic speaker. She provides presentations for all grade levels, as well as literacy night events and author-in-residence programs. She also offers in-service for primary grade teachers and has given professional development workshops for many organizations, including the International Reading Association.

For adult writers, Brooke offers classes and conference workshops and she occasionally teaches two 4-week classes "The ABCs of Writing for the Children's Market" for ASU's Piper Writer's Studio.

Television Producer

Before writing children's books, Brooke earned over 20 years experience in the television industry. She created a children’s show, Cool Critters, wrote zoo segments and hosted KNXV’s Emmy-winning children’s series What’s Up? and produced KTVK’s top-rated weekly program, A Brighter Day with Jan D’Atri, as well as stories for cable networks, including National Geographic Channel, Style Network and Discovery.

kevin and brooke
Kevin and Brooke

Other Stuff

family car
family car

Brooke grew up in Colorado. She is married and lives in Arizona with her husband, Kevin and their dogs, Malki and Hollister. She and Kevin are both licensed pilots; together they built and flew their own 4-place Velocity LWFG airplane.