Yeti Leaves Home: A Children's Book by Jennifer Campbell and Troy Harris

There's a time in everyone's lifespan when they must buck up, journey from the nest, and make their way in the world. It's one of the hallmarks of growing up and is at the very heart of Yeti Leaves Home, a new children's book being developed by local artists Jennifer Campbell and Troy Harris.

It's a colorful tome that features a touching coming-of-age tale about an adolescent creature that's trying to make his way in the world.

"The story is about a Yeti, and he's searching for his new home," Campbell says. "He's grown up and looking for a place of his own. And [the book] is about his journey and all the people he meets along the way."

Campbell and Harris have gone through a tumultuous journey of their own creating the 45-page book over the past few months and attempting to get it published. But if the pair are unable to drum up enough funding via Kickstarter by the end of this week, they're journey might not have a happy ending.

As of this writing, Campbell and Harris are approximately $1,500 short of meeting their goal of $5,000, which includes the cost of publishing Yeti Leaves Home as well as shipping fees and rewards for those who contributed to the project. The deadline for their Kickstarter fundraising efforts is this Sunday.

"We're not really profiting off from this project. Everything is going straight into printing and straight into making the rewards as well," Campbell says. "How Kickstarter works is that if you don't raise the whole [amount], then you don't get anything at all. That's why we're a little nervous since there's less than seven days left."

They're nervous, but also optimistic that their coming-of-age tale has enough appeal to generate enough support to reach their goal. After all, leaving home is a milestone that everyone has faced.

Harris, a 32-year-old wordsmith and filmmaker who wrote the book, states in the video on the project's Kickstarter page that Yeti Goes Home embodies this transitional period in life.

"I think if maybe you were to sum up growing up into one simple phrase, it would be a gradual increase in learning how to become independent," Harris says. "And I think that's sort of what this book parallels in Yeti's travels."

Campbell says that the book embodies the spirit of similar children's books like Dr. Seuss' renowned Oh, the Places You'll Go and was created with both children and adults in mind.

"We were trying to do it so it would be good for all ages, so parents could read it to their kids or give it to young adults as graduation presents...that kind of thing. So adults could relate to it as well as children," she says. "We've all had our own struggles of trying to make it on our own and find our place that feels like home."

Campbell, a 24-year-old painter and fiber artist who specializes in work of a very vibrant nature, says the project was born out of some paintings she created depicting yetis. Harris saw her work one day and conceived of a story behind the creature, and the pair decided to create a children's book.

"There's not very many books about yetis. It's something I've explored in my artwork, and then he just kinda developed into this character. And we decided that he has this story that went with the pieces I was doing, so I kinda expanded that series into all of the illustrations for the book," she says. "He kind of is a character that doesn't need to have a gender, and I think kids can relate to him; adults can see him as a person as well. I'm just really drawn to the fact that he could be an imaginary creature or he could be real."

Each of the illustrations in the book was created by Campbell using watercolor and ink, and they follow the yeti as he departs from his family home, heads into the wilderness, and encounters a variety of interesting characters in his travels.

She will showcase all 25 of her illustrations at Practical Art in May and hopes they'll have copies of the book to sell during the exhibition.

While successfully funding a project via Kickstarter is something of a dodgy proposition, Campbell says it seemed like the easiest way to share Yeti Leaves Home with the world and break into the publishing world.

"We're doing to get our foot in the door because we've both tried going through publishers and sending our stuff out with no luck," she says. "It's really a challenging field to break into, so we figured, why not make a book to break into that industry?"

The Yeti Leaves Home illustration exhibition will take place May 1-31 at Practical Art. A reception will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Friday May 11. The project's Kickstarter fundraising page can be found here.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.