you happen to visit Fairfield, CT anytime soon you just might hear
the tale of Huga Tuga, a magical blue sea monster that was born in the
imagination of Joe Shandrowski and soon after brought to life in a
series of successful children's books.
Tuga (pronounced hooga tooga) is the star of The Wonder Series,
stories that have been designed in a way that Joe hopes enhances the
storytelling experience between adults and kids.
Tuga takes children on amazing adventures through the world of
imagination," he said. "Along the journey the children learn valuable
lessons about life, family and friendship."
Joe has just released his third story, this one called "Huga Tuga In The Dinosaur Adventure."
"The book is geared toward ages 2-7 and deals with the consequences of stealing," he said.
the release of the first book, Joe has used Huga Tuga to create a
complete program he performs called "Reading Rocks Live! A Pep Rally
For Reading." The performance is an interactive theater experience
that includes a spectacular light show, cartoon illustrating, bubble
magic and the "Treasure Chest Of Imagination." Along the way the
children also get to dance along to the cool cat sounds of Huga Tuga
and the Sea Animal Band.
Joe began performing "Reading Rocks Live" in 2002 he appeared in two
schools. Today he has worked with more than 150 preschools,
elementary schools, libraries and hospitals throughout Connecticut,
New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The idea for
the show was simple and personal for Joe.
I was in grade school no one ever visited our class to encourage us
to pursue our dreams or to believe in our imaginations," he said. "I
never thought I would find myself on stage performing but it is an
amazing experience. Hopefully by visiting schools, libraries and
hospitals I can put a smile on the face of a child, and at the same time
help them realize their full potential by believing in their
imaginations." Becoming an author was not something Joe thought about until a car accident left him with severe back and neck injuries in 1993.
couldn't go back to work so I went to college," he said. "I took a
few early childhood education writing courses and the fuse was lit."
With the help of his family, Joe, at the age of 34, opened up Huga
Tuga Creations in 1997 with the goal of creating a publishing company
that would distribute original material. Unfortunately things did not
work out and the company folded in 2000. "We just had no experience
in the business and it quickly became overwhelming," he said. "My
family thought it was best to close the doors. I couldn't blame them.
They had their full-time jobs and family matters to deal with.
Joe was not about to give up. He knew in order to keep his dream
alive he would have to make tough decisions. Over the next year he cut
back on a more normal life to pursue one of a starving artist. He
was determined to bring Huga Tuga to life.
quickly realize if you want something bad enough you have to depend
on faith and determination to see it through," he said.
years later he has published three books with six more on the way.
There are plans to put the "Reading Rocks Live" performance in a
permanent theater. "It was literally a one-in-a-million chance of success, but I didn't want to regret not having at least tried," he said. "I also knew I would never be happy if I didn't. I'm glad I took the risk."
Owner & Founder
Huga Tuga Creations tm (1997)
Educational/Entertainment Production & Book Publishing
Huga Tuga in the Seashell Mystery (Picture Storybook)
Huga Tuga in Letter World (Picture Storybook)
Huga Tuga in the Dinosaur Adventure (Picture Storybook)
The Secrets of Walla Wunga Forest ( Middle Reader - Release/2013)
Joshua's Dream (Middle Reader - Release/2013)
The Night Creepers (Middle Reader - Release/2013)
Huga Tuga Swing Song
Huga Tuga World of ABC Book
Balloons to the Moon - Counting Book (Release/20101)