Donated Books Written By Former Jersey Resident Featured

The Mt. Olive Public Library has received a thoughtful donation of a children’s fictional series, the Gage the Flying Whippet Series from retired Mt. Olive Township police officer Mike Pocquat, who grew up with the author.

The book series is written by Darla Desiderio, a freelance writer and author who grew up in Bernardsville. The series is being featured at the library as part of National Dog week (Sept. 23 through Sept.29).

Desiderio now resides in Charlotte, N.C. The two series books, for children ages seven to 10, are “Gage the Flying Whippet” (Book One) and “The Scrapper” (Book Two). They explore difficult social issues that many young children face — dyslexia and violence in the home. The Gage Series navigates these sensitive childhood realities with a poetic voice, taking the young reader to inspirational endings.

Her first book, “Gage the Flying Whippet” takes the juvenile reader on a thought-provoking journey with Sammie, a rising eighth grader with dyslexia. Faced with the reality of remedial summer-school math, Sammie feels frustrated and defeated – until she meets a magical canine friend to mentor her through life’s obstacles.   

In “The Scrapper,” Garrett P. Murphy finds himself during the winter break of his eighth-grade year having to take care of himself because nobody else can. He struggles, in the fast-paced settings of both New Jersey and New York City, to support himself and his family after the loss of what should be a reliable figure in his life.

He receives celestial help from a canine pal he names The Scrapper, or “Scrap” for short. With “Scrap” by his side, Garrett discovers his own impressive resourcefulness and even starts a small repair business. He is pushed to survive, finding help from places he could never have imagined. “The Scrapper” hints at violence in the home and therefore has a mature theme. It is designed for kids ages 7 – 11 to enjoy.

To find out more about the author and her writing, visit

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