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Montana mom and author wins national award for book about feeding tubes

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THOMPSON FALLS, Mont. -

A Montana author is not only giving families of kids with feeding tubes hope, she's also being nationally recognized for her work. 

You may remember Meikele Lee, a mom of three living in Thompson Falls. We've told you about her book, My Belly Has Two Buttons, before.

Lee wrote the children's book a few years ago to help families just like hers. Her inspiration? Her son, Nico, who has multiple conditions affecting his growth and development. He also uses a feeding tube. 

That book has since sold more than 1,000 copies around the world.  

This week, Lee learned My Belly Has Two Buttons is the winner of a biennial "Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities" award.

It's from the United States Board on Books for Young People, which is part of the same organization that awards the prestigious Hans Christen Andersen award. 

She says as a hairdresser by trade from Montana, she would never have expected that outcome from this book. 

"We've always strived for my son to love the body he's in," said Lee. "And that's the same message we have in this book. He talks about his feeding tube, and why he needs it, but he's also telling you, 'Don't be sad. Don't be sad for me because I'm active, I'm normal. This is my own version of healthy, my new normal." 

She says she hopes her family and her book are good representations of the feeding tube community. 

This award means the book, illustrated by Rebecca Robertson, is also eligible for an international list of distinction

Lee also has written a second book about feeding tubes - A Very Tubie Christmas.

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