The Search for Streya Local writer and artist collaborate to promote sea turtle conservation on Aruba

Local writer and winner of two travel writer awards from the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Tina Causey-Bislick, and local visual artist and illustrator Vanessa Paulina, whose work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the Caribbean, the United States, South America, Europe, and Africa, have teamed up to produce a locally-inspired children’s book titled “The Search for Streya.”

The colorfully illustrated book follows Jasmira and her younger brother, Joey, who are on a quest to finally get their first glimpse of Streya, the mystical sea turtle that their grandfather rescued from a fishing net many years ago.  This sea turtle, with a peculiar star pattern on her shell, returns to the beach on the Caribbean island of Aruba that she was born on to lay her eggs during nesting season.  Will this be the year they finally see her or will their search for Streya steer them into dangerous waters? 

“Reading books together was an essential part of my kids’ childhood on so many levels—it helped foster their love of reading, inspired them to be creative and imaginative, opened up new worlds to them, and most of all, our time spent together reading was a priceless bonding experience.”

The Search for Streya took several years to develop, with both Tina and Vanessa juggling their day-to-day commitments, working on the book in their spare time.  “After writing and re-writing several times, we were finally at the stage to translate the characters from my imagination to canvass.  Vanessa presented me with several versions of the main characters and then we had to decide on all the details: hairstyles, clothing choices, and colors,” informed the author. With the book’s setting in Aruba, Tina wanted the details of the landscapes to be inspired by the island.  “We drove all through Mangel Halto and Savaneta, picking certain aspects of the landscape and various wooden docks and local fishing boats to use as inspiration for the settings in the book.”

The finished product is now on the island, thanks to several local companies and organizations that pre-bought copies of the book. “Aruba’s close-knit community is very supportive of its artists, writers, musicians, and performers.  Several resorts and local companies believed in us and our project, offering to pre-purchase books so that we could raise funds to take it to print. Vanessa and I are eternally grateful to the following companies and organizations: Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino; Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino; Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino; The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba; Aruba Tourism Authority; Botica di Servicio; Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino; Divi Resorts; and De Palm Tours. Two other companies offered support; Kay’s Fine Jewelry/Alex & Ani and Coldwell-Banker were the first to purchase several copies for their clients when the book arrived a few days ago.”

The Search for Streya is for sale at the following gift and book stores:  The Juggling Fish (beachside at Playa Linda), The Lazy Lizard (Alhambra Casino & Shops), TradeWinds (RIU Palace Antillas, Hilton, Marriott Ocean Club), Bruna, Plaza Book Shop, and DeWit & VanDorp.

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May 23, 2018
Rona Coster