TAMPA (WFLA) – The Gasparilla parade has been a part of Tampa since 1904.
The Gasparilla Children’s Parade has been around for more than 70 years and grew much larger in 2002.
The Gasparilla Pirate invasion is big, it’s exciting and colorful.
In all of that time, with all of that history, no one has ever written a Children’s book about Gasparilla, until now.
Jane Johnson is a children’s book author who lives in Tampa and first experienced Gasparilla 25 years ago.
“It was just mind-boggling, all of the action and activity, so I thought it was really fun. It’s really colorful, there’s a whole pirate language and all kinds of things happening and all kinds of things I’d never seen before, so I just loved it,” said Johnson.
Johnson thought someone must have written a children’s book about the event. She went to many different stores in Tampa to find a book and when she learned that none existed, she decided to produce one of her own.
She invented the character “Benjy Blake, a rat with a relative in Tampa.
“I really wanted a little character and not a person, because I wanted to have the parade looked at from the viewpoint of someone who is really a little character looking up at all of this action, it would just seem more blown up and exciting,” said Johnson.
Her book, “Gasparilla Rat”, tracks the story of “Benjy Blake” as he flies to Tampa and has his first experience with the Gasparilla parade.
“When you read the book, you’ll see it has lots of emotion in the book and it has lots of excitement and there’s some drama,” said Johnson.
You can find out all about the drama and see the adventure of “Benjy Blake” by picking up a copy of “Gasparilla Rat.”
Johnson says they offer free delivery of the book for anyone in Tampa and says it can be found here.
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