My Tubey by Rhiannon Merritt-Rubadue
by Shannon Gonsalves
When Rhiannon Merritt-Rubadue's daughter was a toddler with a feeding tube, she could not find any books featuring children with tubes. To fill this void, she created the My Tubey storybook series, intended to help children with feeding tubes feel not so alone. As she states, her daughter, "was beginning to notice that she had a 'tubey,' and mom, dad, and big brother didn't. Nor did grandma, grandpa, cousins, or friends." Currently she is in the process of creating a series describing all the various stages of tube feeding, which in her words, "gives children with feeding tubes a character and story they can relate to."
At this time, two books are available, My Tubey: A Day in the Life of a Tube Fed Girl
and My Tubey: A Day in the Life of a Tube Fed Boy
. Both books describe the typical day of a child with a feeding tube, appropriately geared toward girls and boys, respectively. They are available from the My Tubey website
for $12.99 each.
Future titles, to be released this summer and fall, include:
- There's More Than One Way to Eat
- Bye-Bye Tubey: It's Time to Remove My Tube!
- My Tubey Goes to Preschool
My almost six-year-old son is tube fed and developmentally delayed. We read My Tubey: A Day in the Life of a Tube Fed Boy, which is a story about a fairly typical young boy doing fairly typical activities who needs a little extra support to grow and be healthy. It shows him without his shirt and a G-tube button on his tummy. It could easily be used to prepare a child for getting a feeding tube or for educating other children about the basics of tube feeding.
It is intended for young children ages three to seven, and my son was easily able to understand it. I appreciated the glossary of terms at the back of the book to help adults with possibly unfamiliar terminology. Overall, this is a very helpful and educational book.
When I first showed the book to my son he didn't even notice the G-button. Then he thought it was "cool" to see a real book with a boy in it who has a tube like his and a tummy that feels "yucky" like his. He said, "I like this book, because the boy has a tummy and a button like me."
If the intent of this book is just for tube fed children or to prepare a family for tube feeding, then it is perfect the way it is. I would hope that a future book, perhaps for school-age children, would share a little bit about emotionally how it feels to have a tube, including how others' reactions can make a child feel. This would be extremely valuable to share with classmates and siblings.