Jessie Burnam with Sisters.jpg


My Story

I love mangoes, musicals, and am the only carrot top in my family.  

As a child, I learned backwards  -  I rollerskated and rode a bicycle

before learning to speak in complete sentences at 4 years of age.

That same year, I taught myself to read and fell in love with books.


My educational career spans three decades from teaching and advocating

for students with special needs to being a university disabilities specialist.


I began writing picture book stories when I first began teaching.

Bertha Klausner, an international literary agent, represented my early manuscripts. I felt so lucky - Bertha had represented Eleanor Roosevelt,

Upton Sinclair, and Fidel Castro. My stories weren't polished or published. Since I didn't understand why, I abandoned the pen. Years later,

I decided to try again, but this time, I enrolled in courses

to formally learn about picture book writing,

and today I continue to take classes.

So what am I learning?

  • Every word counts in a 500-word manuscript. 

  • Nix clichés and words like: little, very, reallyfun, and nice.

  • Avoid flip-flopped "Yoda" language (ex., "To market we shall go.")

  • Use a three-act structure in 32 pages; and show, don't tell.

  • Make stories whimsical, engaging, and memorable.


I love discussing story development with Michael Burnam,

my husband and fellow author.  A true optimist,

he writes happy endings to his anti-dystopic

young adult Sci-Fi novels. Check out 

Michael's terrific books!