rebecca the white house raccoon cover

The cover illustration of Rebecca, White House Raccoon features President Calvin Coolidge, his wife Grace, and of course, the titular raccoon.

Wellsboro, Pa. – Author Kevin Coolidge, owner of From My Shelf Books & Gifts at 7 East Avenue, Wellsboro, will release a new nonfiction picture book for children aged 5 to 8 years old later this month. The book, titled Rebecca, White House Raccoon, tells the true story of a raccoon kept as a pet by President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge.

"I think adults who love history, animals, or both will enjoy it, too," Coolidge said. "The color illustrations in my new book are being done by Chris Jones under the pen name Jubal Lee. He also illustrates my 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,” explains Coolidge, "Everything in it is true, even about Rebecca going on vacation with the President and First Lady in South Dakota."

Coolidge has written eight Totally Ninja Raccoon children's books between December 11, 2015 and July 6, 2018. The series is intended for 7 to 10-year-old reluctant readers and tells about the action-packed adventures of three raccoon brothers who become ninjas. The brothers meet a variety of interesting characters and creatures, including the elusive Bigfoot.

“I'm still working on the next book in the series. It has been harder to write fiction now than nonfiction with the pandemic and everything else that is going on,” he said. "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.”

About Rebecca the Raccoon

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 of eating her, the Coolidges adopted Rebecca and gave her a collar imprinted with the words "White House Raccoon." Her diet included shrimp and persimmons, but eggs were her favorite food.

Allowed to roam freely in the White House, Rebecca often visited the Oval Office and would play with White House visitors. She loved hide-and-seek and the bathtub. Mischievous and intelligent, she was known to unscrew light bulbs, open cabinets, and unpot houseplants. She attended White House events such as the annual White House Egg Roll, where she chased eggs across the lawn. A special wooden house was built just for her.

When the Coolidges left the White House, so did Rebecca. So she wouldn't be lonely, 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. He discusses the writing process and encourages fun in literacy.

Signed, personalized copies of all of the books Coolidge has authored are available at From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro or can be purchased at kevincoolidge.org. Copies of his books can be found wherever books are sold. For more information, call From My Shelf Books & Gifts at (570) 724-5793 or stop in.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.