The bug people project began with an actual dream. One morning, Vicki woke up with the image of a little grasshopper jumping up and down rapping, "I'm a bug, I'm a bug, I'm a big, big bug. I'm Gandy Green, I'm big and mean." The image and words stuck and she turned them into a story.
Then came Lucy Ladybug, the ladybugs lament. When Vicki told her friend Natalie about the project Natalie saw it as a perfect platform for her mission of helping children develop positive body image, and a love for nature. Together, Natalie and Vicki went to classrooms and the local Girls Inc. reading the story to see the children's reactions.
Life happens and the stories went on the back burner until Vicki realized that with the talent of her friend Rafael they would make wonderful audio books. That's when we decided to self publish. Rafael came on board and turned Vicki's songs into beautiful music and created sophisticated sound design and music for the project.
Author & Illustrator
Vicki overcame dyslexia and an eating disorder to become a cookbook author and professional artist. She has written a dozen vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, published in two languages, and is author of what may be the first vegetarian cookbook published in French. She taught vegan and vegetarian cooking for over 30 years and was the founding owner of Le Pommier Fleuri, one of the first natural food stores in the Laurentia area north of Montreal.
Vicki is a fine arts graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design. She has exhibited her paintings in the U.S., France, England and Canada. She also has a Bachelors of Science in Holistic Nutrition form Clayton College.
For 6 years Vicki hosted Truly Sustainable Sarasota on WSLR radio. The Bug People stories are inspired by personal experience and a desire to impart knowledge to children in an entertaining and artful way.
Narrator & Spokesperson
Natalie Laughlin Tanner
Natalie is mother to two children, worked as an international fashion model, media personality and eco-activist. Born in Trinidad from English and French Ancestry, Natalie and her family immigrated to Miami when she was a teenager.
A graduate of New York University, she has traveled all over the world as a fashion model with the famed Ford and Wilhelmina agencies. She has the distinction of being the only plus-size model to be featured on five consecutive billboards in Times Square. From international runways and television, to magazine covers and catalogs, Natalie overcame an eating disorder and continues to empower woman of all shapes and sizes to embrace their unique gifts and share them with the world.
A frequent talk-show guest and motivational speaker, Natalie is always in demand to share her perspective on woman's advocacy issues.
Music Direction & Sound Designing
Rafael "Ruffus" Silva
Hailing from Santos, Brazil, Rafael Silva, otherwise known as "Rufus," began his musical studies at an early age. At fifteen he taught himself a number of woodwind instruments as well as several rhythm section instruments. He studied at Souza Lima College in Sao Paulo City, having played and studied with a number of renowned Brazilian musicians.
In 2007 he was rewarded an 80% scholarship to study at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Having two bachelors and a masters in music, he pursued a minor in the culinary arts and one in astronomy. Established in the northeastern USA, he began teaching music and preforming with illustrious American jazz players at venues such as the Blue Note Jazz Club and the Jazz Standard in NYC. Leading tours in Brazil, Peru and the US, Rufus brings his set of inventive ideas to the Bug People Project, refining the concept of "music for kids," as well as spreading his passion for nature and love for one and other.