Sea Turtle Awareness Day

by Peter Raymundo


Sponsored by the world famous Clearwater Marine Aquarium, this was the 6th annual Sea Turtle Awareness Day held right next to the beach in Clearwater, Florida. The event brings together some of the state’s top environmental organizations and vendors to help teach about the wonders of sea turtles, and educate the public on the ways we can help save these remarkable creatures from the scourge of mankind.

My involvement with the even actually goes back to a a workshop I did at The Crayola Experience in Orlando. Crayola was having an “ocean” month, and invited me to demonstrate how to draw various sea creatures each weekend while representatives from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium gave a more educational aspect to it. On one of those weekends I met a turtle biologist named Yvette (pictured below). She saw the value of drawing as part of the learning experience, and invited me to last year’s Sea Turtle event. Obviously that worked out well, and I was back again for this year.

With CMA marine biologist Yvette Fernandez-Khalil

With CMA marine biologist Yvette Fernandez-Khalil

Drawing an Atlantic Green Sea Turtle
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This also also brought together a massive beach cleanup effort that had over 1,300 people register. And let me tell you, I’ve quite a few beach cleanups, and that is a huge number. (Getting 100 people is usually considered big). But because of this incredible turnout, we were able to collect over 1000 pounds of trash from the beach and surrounding area.

If you are not familiar with beach clean ups (or cleanups in general) you are like me for most of my life. When I first heard of such a thing, sad to say, I thought it was a little odd. I think that’s because it’s all too easy to think problems like litter are someone else’s responsibility. But once you flip that on its head, and actually make it your mission to find and collect litter, it’s surprisingly fun…like you’re searching for treasure. And, oddly enough, it'‘s like the crazier the find, the more valuable it is.

Line of a thousand plus people volunteering to pick up trash from the beach.

Line of a thousand plus people volunteering to pick up trash from the beach.

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Getting Ready for a Giveaway

by Peter Raymundo


My wife took this picture as we were walking out of TJ Max (where we found the tail). I didn’t realize the lighting was so nice when she took it. On Facebook I noted that it was surprising how many people just started talking to me because I was carrying around a big, sequined mermaid tail, and almost all of them had daughters that were totally interested in the Third Grade Mermaid series once we got to talking. I’m not sure what the exact lesson here is, but never, ever be afraid to walk around TJ Max with a mermaid tail over your shoulder. You never know who’ll meet.

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SKIP THE STRAW or BRING YOUR OWN

by Peter Raymundo


Most people are sadly unaware of how devastating the accumulation of plastic is becoming in our world, especially in the oceans. Some of the worst culprits are plastic straws. Not only can they never be recycled (which is something I didn’t even know until recently), when they are washed into the ocean, they have many horrific effects. For one, they can get stuck in turtles’ noses, like that one moving video that went viral last year, but even after they breakdown, they actually get ingested by even more marine creatures. And if this doesn’t kill them directly, those plastic-filled creatures gets eaten by larger ones, who often end up getting eaten by us.

I won’t pretend that breaking the habit of just using a plastic straw is easy though. This here is a picture of me with a metal straw at a restaurant in Daytona Beach. I’ve been bringing this type of straw around for a little bit now, and honestly find it more than a little cumbersome. So I’m looking into some alternatives. The thing about plastic straws is they are convenient, and think if we have any hope of replacing them, the replacement must be just as easy to use.

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Skype in the Classroom AROUND THE WORLD

by Peter Raymundo


I regularly do Skye in the Classroom visits with classes all over the world. Recently I met a particularly enthusiastic class in Poland, and just had to make a note of it. The main thing that stands out to me when I visit classes in different countries is just how similar people are all over the world. Thanks to technology like Skype, one day communication with others around the world will be as common as seeing your neighbor down the street.

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New Year Card 2019

by Peter Raymundo


For me, this is the year of the Jellyfish! With my 5th book coming out, I am really being pulled in more directions than ever before. On one hand this is great, of course, but on the other hand, I am realizing it is so important to stay focused on the bigger goals and most important things in life: family, relationships, and helping others. Yes, I am all about working until I fall asleep in my chair (and I’ve done PLENTY of that), but this year, I’m really going to be sure that work doesn’t outweigh life. Here’s to great 2019!!!!

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2019 Holiday Card

by Peter Raymundo


For the last few years I’ve been doing a custom Holiday Card to end the year. The first year I printed about 25 of them and gave them out to just my closest friends. But over time, people have actually ASKED for the card. So my list has grown to well over 300 of my “closest” friends who get an actual printed copy.

This year’s card is the first in awhile that doesn’t have a mermaid on it. It features some of the characters from my upcoming book, I AM NOT A FISH! I’m really satisfied with how this one turned out. I think it’s just how darn friendly the starfish looks! Anyway, Happy Holidays, everyone! This year has definitely been one for the books!!!

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Marine Life Drawing Class

by Peter Raymundo


I wish I had the chance for someone to show me how to draw when I was younger. I did have art class in school, but there were no high-end professional artists in my area to learn from. That’s one of the main reasons I like to offer drawing classes to kids when I can. It’s often very informal, and I’m talking about very basic stuff, like starting with simple shapes, and the thickness of lines, but it’s amazing how far just a little bit of good instruction can go.

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This pictures are from one such class at the local library. It was a free, 2-hour class on drawing marine life. I showed the kids how to draw sea turtles, coral reefs, sharks, and mermaids.

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Celebration K-8 Pumpkin Contest at Chick fil-A

by Peter Raymundo


For several years in a row, the local Chick fil-A has teamed up with the local K-8 school in Celebration, Florida for a Storybook Pumpkin Decorating Contest. This year I was blown away to find out that 2 classes had used Third Grade Mermaid books as their inspiration!

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Meeting in a Skype Teacher in Person

by Peter Raymundo


I participate in the Skype in the Classroom program on a very regular basis, usually having several Skype calls a week. In the last year I’ve had nearly 150 visits with classrooms on 6 continents. Even though I have had quite a few teachers send me thank you packages or ask for repeat visits, I have never had the pleasure of meeting any of the teachers I’ve Skyped with…until today.

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I won’t mention her name for privacy, but it was a true pleasure to meet up with this compassionate and progressive teacher from Broward County, Florida. I was able to sign books for her students, give the class an original drawing, and even record a video message for them.


Drawing a Yellow Tang in The Living Seas

by Peter Raymundo


This is at The Living Seas exhibit at Epcot.  I know I'm not the only one who loves yellow tang fish.  There easy one of the most popular aquarium fish of all...right up there with clown fish and blue tangs (the kind of fish Dory is in Finding Nemo).

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Yellow Tangs at The Living Seas in Epcot Center

Winnie the Pooh exhibit

by Peter Raymundo


     At the High Museum of Art to see an incredible display of original Winnie the Pooh artwork, writing, and memorabilia.  As an artist, it is both inspiring and humbling to be the presence of such overwhelming ability.

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The Georgia Aquarium

by Peter Raymundo


     For research last weekend, I visited one of the BEST AQUARIUMS on the planet!!! The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia! Check out this sketch I did there. Those proportions are correct! And yes, they have actual WHALE SHARKS in a 6.3 million gallon tank!

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     We had an amazing behind-the-scenes tour, which included seeing how their biologists feed the whale sharks with scoops of krill from boats as the tranquil sharks trail behind,   and the massive operation of creating and cleaning millions of gallons of salt water every single day.

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The Sugar Sand Festival

by Peter Raymundo


     I'm big on going to things that foster inspiration, and this truly incredible sand sculpture exhibit definitely fits the bill.  I have to make clear though, this is just sand...NOT sugar. The name Sugar Sand comes from the "sugar white" sands of Clearwater beach.  But that said, I'll just let the images speak for themselves.  Note the onlookers in some of the images.  They help to give a good sense of the scale of these breathtaking sculptures.


Sea Turtle Awareness Day

by Peter Raymundo


     Ok, so some time has gone by since my last entry, as I have been busy working on a new Picture Book and traveling to book signings and events nearly every weekend.  One thing I have participated in recently though is one of many "beach cleanups" held in Clearwater Beach, Florida (about 2 hours from where I live).  Sponsored by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and by the county itself, these cleanups are so simple, yet so crucial it's astounding. 

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     Seeing how much trash that is literally just thrown or left along the beautiful causeway towards Clearwater Beach is truly eye opening.  But not only do the dozens of volunteers picking up hundreds of pounds of trash help keep the area pristine to the eye, these efforts help stop these mountains of plastics and metals and chemicals from making their way into the water, where they do nothing but harm to the the marine life. 

     I highly recommend participating in any kind of "clean up" in your area.  They not only do tons of good for environment, to be perfectly honest, they are fun. 


Third Grade Mermaid the Narwhals Book Release Event!!!

by Peter Raymundo


     For the second year in a row, the West Osceola Branch Library was filled with Third Grade Mermaid fans lining up to be the first to get an autographed copy.  Benefitting from last year's experience, this event was slightly better organized, and more fun than ever!!!

"How many of you know what a narwhal is?" I asked, and amazingly every hand went up.  These kids knew all about the so-called "unicorns of the sea," from where they live, what they eat, to the fact the their "horn" is actually a tooth.

"How many of you know what a narwhal is?" I asked, and amazingly every hand went up.  These kids knew all about the so-called "unicorns of the sea," from where they live, what they eat, to the fact the their "horn" is actually a tooth.

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     One of the BEST parts of coming to an actual Book Release, at least MY Book Releases, is the giveaways!  Several people walked away with original artwork, some of which was drawn right onto Starbucks gift cards!!!

Original charcoal drawing of Cora and a narwhal.

Original charcoal drawing of Cora and a narwhal.

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