104-Year-Old Writer Collects 104 Kids Books for School Library for Her Birthday

A 104-year-old writer is paying it forward for her 104th birthday this year by gathering 104 children’s books to donate to a local Texas elementary school library.

Rachel Grover, life engagement director at Sodalis Senior Living in Buda, Texas, asked writer and resident Betty X. Davis if she wanted to do something special to celebrate her 104th birthday this upcoming year.

“She said she didn’t want a big party or any of that. She just wanted to give back and pay it forward,” Grover told KXAN.

“Many children have little choice in books, don’t even like to think about them,” Davis said. As of Friday, the facility has collected 70 children’s books for kids just starting to read to more advanced young adult novels.

Betty X. Davis made a living throughout her life by penning dozens of short stories for children.

“She just wrote story after story,” Harvey Davis, Betty’s eldest son said. “And of course she worked hard to try to get them published.”

She is also the founding member of the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The organization awards the Betty X. Davis Young Writers of Merit Award to writers in the area each year.

But Davis blossomed as a writer later in life, taking time to raise a family in Dallas and work as a speech therapist before she got inspired to write while writing her own curriculum.

“I never considered being a writer. No one we knew was a writer,” she told SCBWI in an interview. “I began serious writing in the late 70’s and 80’s when I was teaching (a speech therapist) and needed a curriculum.”

Sodalis will be accepting book donations on Davis’s behalf until Wednesday when the books will be donated to an elementary school library.

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