Groundbreaking New Children’s Book ‘Vegan Is Love’ Teaches The Benefits Of Veganism For People, Animals And The Planet
By Mel Fabrikant Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 06:42 PM EDT
First book to explain a vegan lifestyle for kids provokes controversy on whether veganism is appropriate for children
Today’s highly anticipated release of Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action (North Atlantic Books) has already created controversy, as parents, nutritionists, and psychologists opine about whether its core message of changing the way we eat and live is appropriate or even healthy for children. From national television to major newspapers and mommy blogs, author-illustrator Ruby Roth is confronting critics who say the book is too disturbing for impressionable children.
“I’m thrilled that Vegan Is Love is inciting a public discussion,” said Roth, “It’s high time we engage youth in topics previously reserved for adults – democracy, supply and demand, and engaging ourselves in the public realm. Fast food companies don’t think your kids are too young to be marketed to, agribusiness uses the word ‘sustainable’ to talk about GMOs, and marine parks and zoos want kids to believe they are conservationists. If you don’t educate your children, someone else will.”
In Vegan Is Love, Roth teaches a new generation of young readers about choices and the personal agency of people – big and small – in creating a more sustainable, peaceful, and compassionate world. With the same gentle candor of her first book, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals (North Atlantic Books, 2009), and kid-friendly illustrations, Vegan Is Love explores complex themes of animal cruelty, big agriculture, world hunger, and environmental degradation.
“Roth’s work brings children a new viewpoint on animals that we desperately need in today’s world,” said The Cove’s Richard O’Barry, marine mammal specialist and director of SaveJapanDolphins.org. “Her message is a great way to get children personally involved in making moral choices that are best for the animals.”
Vegan Is Love is the first complete guide to the vegan philosophy and lifestyle for children. It addresses the daily opportunities children have to protect animals, the environment, and people around the world. From the clothes we wear, to the products we buy, to the food we eat and the entertainment we choose, Roth shows young readers the far-reaching ethical and environmental rewards of vegan choices. It includes a back-of-the-book list of actions and resources to empower kids to be the change they wish to see in the world.
“Ruby Roth’s fabulous new book teaches children how veganism leads to personal and planetary health and happiness,” said Kris Carr, New York Times best-selling author, motivational speaker, and wellness coach. “Share your respect and compassion for our animal friends by reading Vegan Is Love to a little one you adore.”
About Ruby Roth
Ruby Roth is a Los Angeles-based activist, artist, writer, and former teacher whose children’s books have received international attention for their sensitive yet frank advocacy of a vegan diet and lifestyle. She has degrees in art and American Studies, and for nearly a decade has researched and spoken publicly on animal agriculture, health, nutrition, and the benefits of a vegan diet. Her first book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, published in 2009 by North Atlantic Books, has been praised by celebrities, leading activists and parents, as well as attacked by the likes of agribusiness executives.
For more information and an embeddable book trailer video, please see http://www.VeganIsLove.com
Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action
Written and illustrated by Ruby Roth
Reading level: Ages 6 and up; Grade Level 2 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 1 edition (April 24, 2012)
‘Vegan Is Love’: Children’s Book By Ruby Roth Causes Controversy
The Huffington Post | By Jessica Samakow Posted: 04/20/2012 7:05 pm Updated: 04/20/2012 7:11 pm
A children’s book that will be released next week is stirring up controversy among parents. It’s called “Vegan is Love,” and according to the publisher, is a young readers’ introduction “to veganism as a lifestyle of compassion and action.” The details, however, including images of animals behind bars in crowded cages and graphic passages about animal testing are being called unsuitable for children –- the book is intended for kids as young as 6-years-old.
The pro-vegan message of the book isn’t in dispute. While there is debate about whether an animal-product-free diet from birth is appropriate, nutritionists (and activists including Alicia Silverstone) agree that a vegan regimen can be healthy for little kids as long as their meals include enough supplemental nutrients and proteins. That said, the tone and wording in “Vegan Is Love” has experts concerned.
Child psychologist Jennifer Hart Steen told Matt Lauer on the “Today” show this morning that, “there’s so much fear presented in the book and if you would just give it to a child as a children’s book they don’t understand it. So now they’re just going to be afraid.”
Nicole German, a registered dietitian wrote on her blog that “Vegan is Love” might scare impressionable children into becoming vegan and “without proper guidance, that child could become malnourished.”
The author, Ruby Roth, is raising her 7-year-old stepdaughter, Akira, whose favorite food is kale, to be vegan. Roth told “Today” that it is not her intention to instill fear. “If it’s too scary to talk about, the reality of where those pieces of meat come from, then it’s certainly too scary to eat,” she said. Instead, the book is supposed to encourage “compassion and action,” Roth told ABC.
The book promotes a no meat, no diary diet, but also suggests that kids should boycott the zoo, the circus and aquariums because “animals belong to this earth just as we do.” Hart Steen worries that the title, “Vegan is Love” can send a message to kids that, if you don’t follow this lifestyle, you don’t get to feel love or “you’re clearly creating hate or bad feelings.”
Dr. David Katz, HuffPost blogger and director of the Yale Prevention Center supports Roth’s efforts and told ABC that childhood might be “the best time to create awareness and change behavior accordingly.”
The illustrations are eye-opening and topics mature, but Katz says that, “the torture and maltreatment of animals are real.” So, what’s worse? “Telling kids about what’s going on? Or raising them in a world where it is going on and keeping them in the dark about it so they become complicit to it?”