Jeanne  Balsam Studio Site
Graphic Design, Animal Art, and the Written Word


Listed below are the children's books I am currently working on. It is my heart's desire to be published in this field and not just write, but illustrate, (in the case of picture books), my own stories. Ahhhhh - if only there were 36 hours in a day!

Picture Books

Neil: A Most Unusual Kitten - this is a fish-out-of-water story I worked on when I studied with Uri Shulevitz a number of years ago. Since that time I have re-worked and further edited Neil's manuscript, which awaits a new dummy with color illustrations.
At right, a drawing from my original dummy which does not yet reveal why Neil is so unusual.

Etoile - Etoile is a city girl, a French Bulldog who believes she knows best. When taken on a trip against her wishes, she takes matters into her own paws with some very unexpected results! Etoile has never felt less like a star, but must find the resources within to resolve her dilemma.

Etoile, Nana and the Trail of Stars - I would love to see this petite Queen of Everything as the heroine of her own series. In this tale, Etoile's eyes are opened to a world she's never known - an animal shelter - and discovers how her love can make a difference to a dog greatly in need.

Where Do Butterflies Go at Night? - My only picture book in rhyme and quite magical. Has the potential for curriculum tie-ins.

Benny's Bugs - A boy-friendly picture book in which Benny, inspired by the bugs in his garden, comes up with a creative solution to a frustrating problem. With bug illustrations and fun insect facts for kids, this book also offers the possibility of curriculum tie-ins.

Wes and Pip Fetch the Moon - Two best friends, a West Highland White Terrier and Pip, a stuffed toy rat, have a winter adventure when Wes decides that the moon would make the best ball ever. But can he put aside his terrier drive to get what he wants when his best buddy needs him most?

Champ - The Dog Who Waited - The story of a dog abandoned in the city by his owners and his journey to finding a family who'll love him forever. His challenge? to learn to trust again.

The Small World of Little Fee - this story is short on words, but big on heart. Little Fee is a young feral cat who finds an oasis of safety on a kind person's porch. His is a simple life, but not without the many perils inherent in being a cat who has never been touched.

Dreams-to-Be-Wolf - A young boy finds a dog and yearns to save her, but family finances make keeping him impossible. The boy believes the only answer to protecting the dog is to run away with her, leading to unexpected consequences and a surprise as to how one saves the other. A work in progress.


Simon's Secret - Simon, the family's pet cat, feeling old and weary, leaves his home on the farm and Kara, the little girl who loves him. In the forest Simon discovers that magic awaits him, as does the path to help him heal and return to his beloved Kara.


A Pterodactyl Kind of Day - What happens when a young pterodactyl wishes really hard to go to a picnic, slips through time, and finds himself in the midst of a human family's backyard barbecue? Lots of fun, but a lonely ptero "kid" who doesn't know how to get back home.

Middle Grade Novel

Maya's Enchanted Snow Globe - Maya began as a picture book, a story of a young pup, Maya, an evil toymaker, and no small amount of magic. Editors/agents felt it had too much backstory, and would do better as a chapter book, which was then reviewed and seen as too scary for that age group. A middle-grade novel novel was suggested. A recent critique suggested a complete change in protagonists. Lots of work and decisions ahead on this, one of my favorites stories. (And one agent still preferred it as a picture book ... hmmmmm.) A work in progress.

Broken - Juliana is a 12 year-old girl whose lifelong dream of owning a horse has finally come true. She faces many challenges in being a newcomer to a barn with girls who are highly competitive and in gaining the trust of a horse who suffered a long downward spiral after failing on the racetrack. This is a story of love and redemption for both Sunny, a rescued horse, and Juliana, who is looked over by her beloved Grandma Nonni. A work in progress.


An illustrator's agent at an earlier illustrators' conference was so excited by these book ideas, she told me to drop everything and do them immediately, (not as easy as it sounds!) I will be fleshing these out as soon as is possible, as they require not only manuscripts and dummies, but excellent illustration samples. Neither of these ideas are currently on the market, so I'm not so much as tipping my hand with even a title!

Published Stuff

My Portfolio

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