Possums are North America’s only native marsupial and largely misunderstood animals. Author Marcia Tomasiello, who writes under her pen name, Juliette Douglas, wanted to change how people view possums by raising awareness through a children’s book based on her own experience with these creatures.
“Possums are animals that people usually don’t care for, but they have a lot of perks,” says Marcia.
The idea for a children’s book about possums came to Marcia a few years ago when she noticed something strange in her yard. She walked outside to find eight baby possums with no mother in sight. Uncertain about what to do, she posted about finding the possums on Facebook and a friend recommended she reach out to wildlife rehabber Jina Peterson.
Jina is the owner and founder of Tiny Paws and Claws Wildlife, a Kentucky State Licensed Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation, and has rehabilitated many possums. When Marcia called, Jina had just taken in several baby raccoons and did not have room for any other wildlife at the time. Instead of turning Marcia away, Jina taught her how to take care of the infant possums. It was the first time Marcia had ever cared for wildlife to that extent, but she was willing to learn about how to care for the possums to give them a chance at surviving. With Jina’s guidance and Marcia’s hard work, all eight of the baby possums lived through adulthood.
Marcia continued to update her friends on Facebook about her journey caring for the baby possums. Her story sparked interest from her Facebook friends and several recommended she write a story about her experience. Marcia had written a successful teen fiction series called “Freckled Venom Copperhead,” about a female bounty hunter in the Midwest. She was a proven author and entertained the idea of telling the story of her possums. The idea stuck and she decided to write a children’s book from the perspective of two of her possums, Jasper and Jake.
“I didn’t want to overwhelm the reader with too many facts, but I wanted to give them just enough information to pique their curiosity and make them realize how misunderstood possums are.”
Wanting to give back to Jina and her wildlife rehabilitation and rescue center, Marcia approached Jina about the plan for her book. Jina believed it could be a huge success and the two collaborated to make Marcia’s book a reality.
“The purpose of the book is to raise awareness about possums and how they are beneficial to us all. It’s also a way to give back to Jina and Tiny Paws and Claws Wildlife. She has a lot of expenses with her non-profit organization and this book serves as a fundraiser to support her efforts,” says Marcia.
“We are Awesome Possums” was released January of 2019. Marcia credits her writing and editing team and Jina for making her book a success. Marcia plans to collaborate with Jina to write an entire wildlife children’s book series with plans for the next book to feature a raccoon.
“We Are Awesome Possums” can be purchased at Tiny Paws and Claws Wildlife by visiting the organizations Facebook page or at the Marshall County Co-Op in Benton, Shop-O–Rama in Draffenville, and New Life Christian Bookstore in Murray. Paperback and ebook versions are available on Amazon.
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