Local man writes non-fiction book for youth

This illustration of President Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace holding Rebecca, the raccoon, appears on the cover of Kevin Coolidge’s new book.

Author Kevin Coolidge, owner of From My Shelf Books at 7 East Avenue in Wellsboro, has written a nonfiction picture book for children five to eight years old. “I think adults who love history, animals or both will enjoy it, too,” he said.

Copies of “Rebecca, White House Raccoon” will be available later this month. The color illustrations are by Chris Jones under the pen name Jubal Lee. He also illustrated Coolidge’s Totally Ninja Raccoons series.

“I first became aware of our 30th U.S. President and First Lady Calvin and Grace Coolidge having a pet raccoon in the White House when I was doing research for the first book I wrote in my ‘Totally Ninja Raccoon’ series. That was in 2015,” he said.

“Everything in it is true, even about Rebecca going on vacation with the President and First Lady in South Dakota,” said Coolidge.

Between Dec. 11, 2015 and July 6, 2018, Coolidge wrote eight books about the three raccoon brothers who became ninjas. The series, geared for seven- to 10-year-old reluctant readers, is full of action, adventure and different creatures, like Bigfoot.

“Whenever I give a presentation about my raccoon series, inevitably I am asked why I write about raccoons and my answer always is because ‘Coolidges and raccoons just go together’. People also ask if I am related to President Coolidge. I’m not sure. I did a DNA test and found out we are both part of the New England/New York area settlers group so chances are we are distantly related.”

Rebecca was the most famous raccoon to grace the White House. A supporter who thought she would be great to eat for Thanksgiving dinner gave her as a gift to President Coolidge. Instead, the Coolidges adopted Rebecca and gave her a collar imprinted with the words “White House Raccoon.”

Allowed to roam freely in the White House, Rebecca often visited the Oval Office and would play with visitors. She attended White House events, such as the annual White House Egg Roll when she chased eggs across the lawn.

When the Coolidges left the White House, so did Rebecca. She went to live with other raccoons at the Rock Creek Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Coolidge is available for school presentations for kindergarteners to fourth graders.

Signed copies of all of the books Coolidge has authored are available at From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro or can be purchased at kevingcoolidge.org. For more information, call 570-724-5793 or stop in.

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