New picture book tells of Miami haunted landmarks

New picture book tells of Miami haunted landmarksDo your kids like spooky stories? Then you’ll love Nora Trujillo’s fun new picture book, Miami Boo: Scary Tales of the City.

The book gives details about some of Miami’s haunted landmarks but at the same time, it’s not scary.

“It’s more of a Casper friendly version,” Trujillo said.

She said the original setup was that the book would have a Miami spirit (Misty) to guide the reader through the tour of haunted places.

“A ghost hostess and would take you on a fun tour of the mysterious side of Miami,” she said. “What is a Miami spirit? She’s fun, and she’s going to be on a tour. She is a ghost; she’s actually a spirit — the spirit of Miami, the mysterious side of the city.”

The illustrations are cartoony and cute and not at all scary. The book introduces Misty, who guides the reader through the “haunted” houses.

“She’s giving them a lighthearted account and details about the places,” she says.

The first site visited is the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. Misty tells the reader: “Some say a mysterious lady lives here but no one ever sees her. She can be heard backstage like a director. But she never appears on stage.”

Another stop is at Villa Paula, which has is supposed to be haunted by the wife of the original owner. It’s been named the most haunted house in Miami. Villa Paula was the first Cuban Consulate in Miami but is now in the heart of Little Haiti.

The text says: “Senior Domingo Milord built the villa as a gift to his wife, Paula. She loved it so much she never left. You can still smell the Cuban coffee when she’s in the house. I’ll have mine with cream and sugar.”

Paula died only six years after moving into the house from complications of a leg amputation.

The current resident is an artist and gallery owner who apparently has had a few encounters with Paula. Trujillo said when he was restoring the house, if she (Paula) liked what he was doing, things were fine. If she didn’t, she’d knock things down.

“She is buried in the backyard. If you touch her roses, she gets upset,” Trujillo said. “She loved that house.”

Miami Boo also visits Coral Castle, the Deering Estate, the Miami River Inn and brings up the Bermuda Triangle.

The ghost stories were carefully vetted by the editor at Reedy Press, who liked the stories with specific name and traits. Reedy Press is doing a series of picture books about ghosts around the country, including Nashville and Memphis.

Writing the book was faster than the editing process. The stories changed from the first draft to the final manuscript.

Initially, there were no plans for a Miami book but Trujillo convinced the editor that Miami has its share of ghosts.

She did interview people about the ghostly tales and found that people don’t always want to promote the idea that their house or hotel has a ghost.

“Other people are proud,” she said.

The Biltmore Hotel and its famous ghost are not included in the book because the editors didn’t want to feature a ghost that was a gangster.

Trujillo will appear at the FIU Wolfsonian Family Day on Oct. 1, at Books and Books in Coral Gables on Oct. 15, and a signing at the Barnes and Nobles in Pembroke Pines on Oct. 26. She also will have appearances at area Costco locations.


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