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Meet Tubba Bear!

How Michael and Emma turned story time into fun time.

Quote: “It’s about kindness, making friends, adventures, and shared experiences.”

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Many of us in the last couple of years have had to re-evaluated our lives and embark on a different journey. For my wife and I it was to launch a monthly magazine that we hope could help introduce the community we have come to love to all newcomers. For Michael, the journey started by challenging himself to draw, every day, for a year. Just 30 minutes a day; just to see if he was any good at it. Pretty soon, his youngest daughter Emma started emulating the Little Prince from Saint-Exupéry.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, she started to ask for specific drawings. Not a rose, like the little guy, but a bear and this bear needed to have a bow. Also, could it have a guitar, a pink one, just like mine. And thus, Tubba Bear was born. Being a friendly bear, Tubba Bear soon made some new friends. At first, it was a penguin and a tiger; then a messy monkey and an elephant named Ivan. As Michael and Emma drove around Gilbert, Tubba and their friends started to have adventures around town. From the corn fields to the four silos, Tubba and friends explored the world, made some more friends, and played music.

As Michael relates, at first it was only a way to spend quality time together with Emma, teach about kindness, making friends, having great adventures, and shared experiences. The journey did not have a specific destination in mind when it started but he soon wondered if he should write a book. Maybe he should, right? Luckily, Michael has a background in the music industry and a supportive partner. Soon, plans were made for a demo, new characters added, a quality print house was selected, and merchandise ordered. Launch is planned for the end of June but may slip to August; the copies are on the way as they say. Just like making an album, only the medium is different.

Michael is used to juggling multiple projects. In the days before the pandemic, Michael was an international deejay touring across the Americas, Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, and many other countries. Always creative, he would design his own marketing material for concerts and tours. Self-taught, he would watch videos to learn how to create better designs and use the tools he now uses to bring Tubba alive. Like many, he has learned to adapt in this new world of remote working and freelancing. You can hear longing in his voice sometimes when he speaks of his previous adventures but you can tell he is also excited by the new project with Emma.

Bringing together is passion for music, his relationship with his 3 daughters, his wife Christina, and the life they now have in Gilbert, this new project is a work full of promises. They say it takes about 10,000 hours to master a new skill — maybe less if you count the overtime. After 2 and a half years of pandemic, it looks like we maybe almost half way there. I don’t know about you, but I think we should check in to see how “Tubba and Friends” are doing from time to time. I am curious to see how that rose turns out.

After all, “All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”, would say the Little Prince.

Tubba and Friends: “The Big Music Jamboree” is available from tubbaandfriends.com where you will also find some swags, stickers and activity sheets.

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