Jane Smith BHS ’97 has always considered herself a writer. Her love of books and creating stories came to fruition in 2016, with the publication of her children’s series Chloe Zoe. For years Jane worked as a commercial artist in Los Angeles, developing illustrations and designs for children’s publishing and greeting cards.
“My mom was a school librarian, so books were a big part of our household,” said Jane, explaining that her mother always brought home books signed by authors or illustrators. While her mother planted the seed, it grew thanks to her education in the Bexley City Schools, when she attended Montrose Elementary and participated in a program where students wrote, illustrated, and bound their own books.
Before her books were picked up by Albert Whitman & Company, Jane explained that she always knew creating children’s books was her dream, even while earning her BFA in illustration from Columbus College of Art and Design. “The books started as a story about a child’s first experiences and going to school for the first time,” she said. It was these moments Jane wanted to capture, recognize and honor. “Sometimes as adults we don’t realize how important they are [for children],” she said.
“I’m very proud of [my books],” she said, explaining that watching her daughter experience the world has allowed her a different perspective on her childhood. Creating children’s books gave her the opportunity to go back and go deeper into those childhood experiences.
Jane’s 20th high school reunion is this July, and she plans to return to Bexley from North Carolina with her sister. She’s excited to reconnect with classmates and see what paths they have taken since graduation.