J. Jaye Smith has a passion for promoting environmental awareness. She is an active member of Bat Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy, which oversees Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve in the Texas Hill Country. An active member of the World Wildlife Fund, she enjoys studying nature's creativity and recognizes the importance of protecting it.
Smith moved to Austin, Texas, from Oklahoma after completing a writing course at Harvard University. Her move intensified her interest in nature because she fell in love with Texas's fascinating wildlife, rattlesnakes, longhorns, and especially bats. Aware that Texas houses the largest urban bat colony in the world, she searched for a picture book on the topic for her children.
As a stay-at-home mom with a background in elementary education from Belmont University, she wanted to teach her children about the inhabitants of Bracken Bat Cave. After all, the Mexican free-tailed bats that live in the cave are necessary for balancing Texas's ecosystems. They eat pesky mosquitoes and other flying insects, which means that farmers do not have to use as many pesticides to grow their crops.
Surprisingly, there was not a single children's book about them! Inspired by her children's curiosity, Smith decided to compile the most interesting information about these important mammals so close to home and write a factual picture book.
Smith resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three children.