Stephanie (of the Animal Rights blog at Change.org) also wrote about That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, and the importance of children’s books in fostering compassion in the next generation. Check it out – as a former nanny, her thoughts on this are quite relevant. (Me, I don’t even have so much as a niece or nephew, and haven’t really been around a young’un for twenty years or so!)
A few days ago – possibly while browsing Vegan Dad’s archives in search of yummy vegan recipes – I stumbled upon a link to That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Site About Vegans, Vegetarians, and all Living Things. Populated by whimsical drawings of chickens, pigs, cows, dolphins and bugs, and aimed at the naturally animal-loving training wheels set, TWWDEA, is so ridiculously cute that it kind of makes me want to be a kid again.
Better yet, the website’s actually a supplement to an upcoming children’s book by author/artist/teacher Ruby Roth (who herself is a bundle of vegan cuteness) called That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Site About Vegans, Vegetarians, and all Living Things.
That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals takes a candid, compassionate look at the plight of animals on factory farms, using gorgeous artwork and lively text to introduce vegetarianism and veganism to early readers.
An endearing cast of animals is shown both in their natural state—rooting around, bonding, nuzzling, cuddling, grooming one another, and charming each other with their family instincts and rituals—and in the sad conditions of the factory farm. The book also addresses the effect eating animals has on our environment, rainforests, and endangered species. At the end, a section entitled “What Else Can We Do?” suggests ways children can learn more about the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.
The boldest step yet in children’s literature, this heartfelt, informative book offers a key resource to inspire parents and children to talk about a timely, increasingly important subject.
Ms. Roth explains the genesis and gist of the book in this video, also available on the site:
The book is geared towards kids aged 4 to 10, and has received endorsements from an impressive and lengthy list of advocates and activists, including Jane Goodall (herself quite the children’s writer/educator), Alicia Silverstone, John Robbins, Ed Begley, Jr., Ingrid Newkirk and Rory Freedman.
You can view more of Ms. Roth’s artwork on her Flickr stream, where she shares some super-sweet bumper sticker style drawings. They’re all adorable, but I especially love this one:
Probably due in no small part to my recent thoughts on animal agriculture and its effects on the parent/child bond, which is as strong (if not more so) in many non-human animal species as it is in homo sapiens.
In any case, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, god-mother and fathers, friends of the family – any vegan, vegetarian or animal activist with a young’un in their life – should consider pre-ordering a copy of That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals. (And all else, implore your local library to do so.) In compiling a children’s reading list, I found a number of books which address certain animal issues – usually related to animal companions, i.e., dogs and cats – but thus far, Ruby Roth’s is the only kid’s book to tackle factory farming and veganism. (Not just vegetarianism, but veganism! The mega-enviro orgs won’t even touch veganism with a ten-foot spork, yo!)
(Of course, I could be wrong, in which case I’d love to know. Parents and guardians, help me build up this reading list!)
Tagged: animals animal rights animal welfare book kid’s book children’s book ruby roth vegan veganism vegetarian vegetarianism factory farming factory farm animal agriculture teaching parenting cartoons drawings art That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals compassion humane education