October is the month of frights and spookiness, but terrifying costumes and decorations aren’t the only way for kids to experience such thrills. Locales with mysterious histories and the possibility of ghosts are everywhere, waiting to share their own stories. Many such sites reside in Tampa, and kids with a taste for ghostly thrills can learn about some in New York Times best-selling author Stacia Deutsch’s The Ghostly Tales of Tampa.
Published by Arcadia Children’s Books and adapted from Deborah Frethem’s Haunted Tampa: Spirits of the Bay, the book shares a selection of children-friendly stories that will excite their adventurous spirits. A few include ghost sightings in the early days of Tampa, Hotel Floridian, the Sykes Building and Tampa Theatre. With over 10 chapters totaling over 100 pages, it’s a short series of enjoyably eerie points in Tampa’s history.
“It was such a fun project. I can’t even believe what a great time I had doing this,” said Deutsch. “I’m not a huge ghost person, and I tend to get a little bit scared. My husband … says that he sees ghosts all the time, and he always says, ‘They’re kind, they’re nice.’ … It’s not like the movies. He’s like, ‘It’s just part of the fabric of the world, right?’ And so when I think about it that way, it’s a little less scary.”
“And the ghosts I found for the Tampa book, they’re not like pop-up Halloween ghosts, they’re ghosts that are roaming on their properties or staying in the places that they loved,” Deutsch said. “I mean, I’ll admit it, I’m still a little bit scared.”
Deutsch wrote this book as a condensed version of Haunted Tampa so it would be more interesting and appropriate for kids. Having written around 350 books for children, she is well experienced in writing for them.
She hopes The Ghostly Tales of Tampa will inspire kids and their parents to try to learn more, seek out these sites and see if they can find a ghost or feel its presence. She also said she hopes they’ll “find out more about the building, what happened there before, who lived there and who walked there,” as well as explore online and local areas for similar tales.
“That stuff just sparks creativity and imagination,” said Deutsch.
To purchase The Ghostly Tales of Tampa, visit www.arcadiapublishing.com/products/9781467198745, Amazon and other places where books are sold.