This elderly person is reserved.
The 99-year-old World War II veteran has proven it’s never too late to do what you love after embarking on a career as a children’s book author. Today, with two titles to his credit, the nonagenarian is admired by a new generation of young readers.
“Reading is the basis of all other learning”, Sam Baker, 99, told Fox News of the inspiration behind starting a new vocation almost a hundred years ago.
It was a quill pen fatigue story: the native of Scottsdale, Arizona, enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 19 in 1942, several months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After leaving the service in 1947, Baker joined the US Coast and Geodetic Survey – now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also known as NOAA, where he worked for three decades until his retirement.
Then, at age 95, Baker decided to become a writer – an idea that germinated after buying his first computer, Military.com reported.
“My son called and said, ‘Dad, now that you have a computer, why don’t you write down the stories you used to tell us when we were kids, for your granddaughter?’ the old bookworm told the military newspaper the genesis of his new vocation.
Deciding to honor the request of his loved ones, Baker typed his very first children’s book, “The Stupid Adventures of Petunia and Herman the Worm”, which was published in 2018. The opus was, according to the suggestion of his son , based on the stories he used to tell. her children about a worm named Herman.
The soldier-scribe followed that up in 2020 by releasing his second book, “Oscar the Mouse,” which was inspired by a “white rat” someone gave him as a child.
“She and I had a good relationship,” Baker recalled. “But my mum didn’t want me to take him inside the house, so I had to build him a cage outside.”
The author decided to make her a mouse in the story because “people accept mice over rats,” the author said. Baker’s childhood pet is also the subject of his third book, which he says will be published “early to mid-2022.”
The veteran’s accomplishments as an author are particularly impressive given his own struggles with reading growing up. As Baker only learned to sight-read, his journey to literacy was quite difficult – and the eldest wouldn’t even have mastered phonics until adulthood.
Yet Baker’s passion for reading blossomed in ninth grade, when he was assigned a dozen book reviews in a year.
The prolific children’s author ultimately hopes his works will instill a love of the written word in younger generations.
“Both of my books were written with two fundamental goals: to encourage children of all ages to learn to read and to convey an important message of acceptance in life,” Baker said. “If my book can encourage children to become avid readers, I will feel like I was a big hit.”
In another age-defying literary success story from February, an 8-year-old boy from Idaho slipped his homemade comic book into the local library — and got it published.