homepage logo

Local author shares memories of Sanibel

By Staff | Jan 3, 2018

John Costanzo

Local author John Costanzo said he wouldn’t trade growing up on Sanibel for anything in the world.

Costanzo recently released the second edition of his book, “Island Boy – A Little Sanibel.” The book was originally published in 2010.

Costanzo’s book chronicles his life growing up on Sanibel in the ’70s. The book details his experiences with nature, his friendship with the Woodring family, Chuck LeBuff and his countless adventures on the island.

He and his family originally came to Sanibel in 1971 from Chicago, Illinois, when he was 8. His father, a barber, and his mother, a beautician, sold everything they owned to move down with Costanzo and his sister.

The family settled in a home in Sanibel Lake Estates. His father bought the Island Barber Shop and his mother eventually found work in a local salon.

Costanzo recalls Chuck LeBuff being his first friend on the island.

“He reminded me of Jungle Boy. He would bring me through the Sanibel swamps, across the Sanibel River, things I wouldn’t do today if I knew what I knew back then. He’d be running around barefoot and I’d be just following his lead and learning so much from him,” he said.

Costanzo began piecing together the book over a decade ago during slow times at the pizza shop he owned on Palm Ridge Road. Costanzo wrote down his early memories of Sanibel for his two boys, Augustus and Rocco.

“I wrote the stories on guest checks. I’d write down stories, funny things that happened or interesting things that would draw interest in the kids,” Costanzo said. “I hope my kids will grow up and appreciate this island. (Sanibel) is a little jewel.”

Beth Warner, a friend of his, read his stories one day and told him that she’d like to turn it into a book.

“She insisted I do the book,” he said. “It was a big undertaking.”

A percentage of all book sales will go towards the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

“They’re what Sanibel is all about,” he said. “I love what they do. I can’t say enough about this organization.”

The book, which is $14.95, can be purchased at Bailey’s General Store, Billy’s Bike Shop & Segway of Sanibel.