Local author launches historical Pride Flag picture book in St. Petersburg

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | Local and out author Rob Sanders will officially launch “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag,” the first picture book detailing the history of the Pride flag, on April 12 at ArtsXchange St. Pete.

“This is the first official release event and we’re having it in St. Pete for the Bay area,” Sanders says. “This is the 40th anniversary of the Pride flag, so the book coming out is perfect timing for it.” The launch party, co-sponsored by Tombolo Books, the Warehouse Arts District, Random House Books and the SunLit Festival, follows the book’s official release date of April 10.

“In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world,” Random House’s press release reads.

“Award-winning author Rob Sanders’ stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno’s evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable and undertold story,” it continues. “It is a story of love, hope, equality, and pride.”

The book’s synopsis further advises that the flag’s colors are “a symbol of hope and pride for the millions of LGBTQ+ individuals living across the world.” It’s a story Sanders says he began writing on the night the Supreme Court declared marriage equality as law in 2015.

“Everything in the world had turned rainbow,” Sanders, an elementary school teacher in Brandon, recalls. “Niagara Falls was rainbow, the White House was a rainbow, and I was watching thinking kids need to know this story.”

“We’re so far removed from the events of that flag that kids need to know and need to begin to feel pride,” he continues. “Whether you’re an ally or a kid that’s one day going to realize you’re LGBT or somewhere in that Q spectrum, I wanted to make sure that the story was out there.”

The launch party will begin with pride activities for “kids and adults who are kids at heart,” Sanders says, noting that he’ll participate in a reading, Q&A and book signing. It will also feature a silent auction benefiting area homeless LGBTQ youth.

“It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Sanders asserts. “It’s for all ages, and we just want the community to come out and celebrate together.”

For more information about “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” or its official launch party, contact Tombolo Books at 727-755-9456 or alsace@tombolobooks.com.

Image from Rob Sander’s Facebook

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