Episode 22 of the Ideas to Books Podcast features an interview with children’s author, Meikele Lee, who writes books for a very special audience.
Meikele Lee is a mom, an award-winning author, and a Pediatric Feeding Disorder Advocate. She is the author of the children’s book My Belly has two Buttons and A Very Tubie Christmas, and lives in Helena, Mont. She is a wife and mother to 3 amazing children, one of whom has a feeding tube.
She has been in cosmetology for over 10 years, but became passionate about blogging when her youngest child’s oral aversions became life threatening. She used blogging to try and understand her son’s condition and how he can relate to others with or without a feeding tube, and to help educate the public about these life saving devices
About Meikele’s newest book:
This year experience Christmas the way a child with a feeding tube would! Allow Nico “Tubie,” your guide on Santa’s midnight ride, as he tells you all the ways a traditional Christmas would change if Santa had 2 belly buttons. Would Santa fit in a chimney? Could you leave out milk and cookies?What would the reindeer be named? Find answers to these questions and more in this book A Very Tubie Christmas.
About My Belly Has Two Buttons:
(The following is a note from Meikele about her book.)
It’s about a 2 year old boy named Nico and he wants you to know what makes him special. His feeding tube! In his own words he tells you how cool it is because it keeps him healthy with the support of his parents and medical support, and some of the reasons why he has it. At the same time he wants you to know he is happy and can do most things boys his age do.
I wrote this when heard from his medical team that his journey with the feeding tube was going to be a lot longer than anticipated. His skills were stalling and adaptability to new techniques for hydration not being accepted well because of oral aversions and his own lack of ability. I was sad, angry, and thinking why? Why him? Why did our family need to go through this? What would his future look like? Would he ever be like other kids? I cried my tears; over what I thought was a loss, and the next night I worked I was unable to sleep because of a string of thoughts that wouldn’t stop. This continued into my graveyard shift and I started writing them down as they were kind of driving me crazy. The next 8 hours between checking on clients I wrote what turned out to be a story about a boy like my son, Nicodemus “Nico”. A boy who was proud of his feeding tube, and hopeful for his future even if he still had it. And I realized that was because I wanted my son to feel this way, and I hoped all kids like him could find their “new normal” and be happy being a Tubie no matter how long.
My target age for the book was 1-5 years old children with Feeding tubes, but since launch we’ve seemed to reach a much broader age span. Parents of smaller and older Tubies are using it to educate schools, daycare, and friends or family. This is up to and including Grandparents with feeding tubes who want their children and grand-children to understand why they have it in an easy way.
Quotes from the book:
“My Mic-key is unique as you can see. I’ve only met two kids with 2 belly buttons like me.”
“The Doctor’s and Specialists aren’t sure why, my body struggles to let me try.”
“Please don’t feel sorry for me, I might have it out by the time I am 3!”
About the Illustrator:
Rebecca Robertson Born in Carthage, NY, now age 26 resides in Bellevue, WA with her Husband Adam of 6 years. Since a young age she has always had a flair for creativity and passion that led her to many artistic hobbies. Among these have been oil canvas’, specialty painting’s, henna and now illustration. She plans to continue along her very eclectic path and share her many talents in hopes to bring positivity, excitement, and genuine understanding of the unique and beautiful things in this world that can only be expressed through Art.
Video with Nico’s sister helping him:
Where to purchase Meikele’s books:
- A Very Tubie Christmas (paperback from Amazon)
- My Belly Has Two Buttons (paperback from Amazon)
- My Belly Has Two Buttons (Kindle edition)
Media appearances by Meikele:
- KXLH February 2016 For “Feeding Tube awareness week”
- Helena Civic TV Interview Book Launch September 2016
- ABC/Fox news segment 2016
- Review by the Banks
- National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders
Connect with Meikele:
A note to my listeners:
Please share this post to help spread awareness about Tubies!