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Retired Denair teacher offers unique perspective with new children’s book
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Former Denair High School art teacher John Stavrianoudakis met with students enrolled in Crowell Elementary’s Interact Club discuss his new book, “The Beagle, the Eagle, and the Seagull.” - photo by Christopher Correa

Though it’s been two years since John Stavrianoudakis retired from teaching art at Denair High School for nearly three decades, he is still offering lessons to today’s youth. 


In October, Stavrianoudakis released “The Beagle, the Eagle, and the Seagull,” a picture book for children on managing relationships, particularly when coping with the separation or divorce of parents. It is written and illustrated entirely by himself. 


On Friday, he spoke to Crowell Elementary’s Interact Club, advised by Robin Swartz, about the lessons within the book, the publishing process and his journey experimenting in art.


“I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now. I actually went through a divorce around 30 years ago. And my partner, she was wonderful, we just had to go our separate paths. It just happens sometimes in life,” he explained. “We didn’t have kids, but I had friends who went through those situations, and it was hard on them from what I saw from afar. It’s hard when people grow apart. But it happens. People come together and come apart, and it’s important to help guide those children that experience that in their lives.”


The story describes a beagle and an eagle crossing paths and living a happy life together on a farm. As the eagle grows older, and after learning of the experiences of a seagull, it longs to return to the skies to live a bird’s life. Though difficult at the time, they accept that they must embark on their own journeys, and that everything will turn out just fine.


Swartz has read the book to her classes to encourage students to stay confident and optimistic throughout the ups and downs of growing up.


Many in the club are passionate about writing and art and were fascinated in how Stavrianoudakis was able to make his dreams come true of creating art and educating.


The Beagle, the Eagle, and the Seagull is self-published by Stavrianoudakis through Amazon and is produced in paperback form on-demand. Getting work published is a lot different than when he helped illustrate for his friend’s novel back in 1995.


In his years, Stavrianoudakis has dabbled in all kinds of art, including helping design NFT characters. He showed the class multiple examples of his art and walked them through part of his creative process using a digital art software.


“Traditional art like pencil to paper, digital art… There are so many types of art. Art makes me happy,” he told the students. “I hope you all find something that brings similar joy in your lives.”


The Beagle, the Eagle, and the Seagull can be purchased in paperback form or as a digital copy on Amazon at


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Paperback copies of John Stavrianoudakis’ “The Beagle, the Eagle, and the Seagull” have been put to good use in Robin Swartz’s classroom at Crowell Elementary. - photo by Christopher Correa