When I was six years old I learned the truth about vegetarianism. A teacher of mine was vegetarian and she seemed healthy, happy, and caring. I learned not only where meat came from, but I also learned that it was possible to choose not to eat animals without negative health consequences. I came home and announced “I don’t care what you do but I’m not going to eat my friends anymore.” I was going vegetarian.
Luckily for me (and for countless animals), my mother was educated and knew that vegetarianism was a healthy choice. She is also the type of parent who values empathy, critical thinking, and creativity. So instead of responding with negativity to my choice to eat without hurting animals, she embraced it. She decided we would all go vegetarian. So we did. Over the years we learned more about veganism and animal rights. Eventually, my mom and I went vegan (whereas my younger sister stayed vegetarian… with vegan tendencies). Compassionate holiday meals became our new family tradition.
At age 36 I’ve abstained from eating animals for three decades. And now I have a son. I will pass this compassionate lifestyle onto him so that he too can thrive without hurting animals. Remember, our family tradition is now compassionate eating and living. Our family cares about all animals, the planet, and our health. And that’s why we’re vegan.
There are some children’s books that can help instill empathy for animals. For example, there’s Granny Gomez and Jigsaw (a story about how a grandma rescues a pig and builds a barn for him) and there’s The Story of Ferdinand (ostensibly, this book is about pacifism but the book also highlights the cruelty of bullfighting and encourages empathy for the bulls). There’s a book about dragons called Herb the Vegetarian Dragon and there’s a book called That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals by Ruby Roth.
Roth has a new book out called Vegan Is Love. I received a review copy of Vegan Is Love. The book is subtitled “Having Heart and Taking Action” and the book ends on the last page with this:
At breakfast, lunch, and dinner, at the store or in school, we remember our love for animals. They are part of our everyday lives, part of our hearts. When we see them, we can feel them and know that we are here together – living, breathing, eating, playing, and loving under the sun.
In the end, only you can choose how to eat and live. It takes courage to ask, “What kind of person do I want to be?” and deide the answer for yourself. The choice to be vegan is especially brave. It means you are standing up for yourself and all other living beings – and that is love.
Our choices are powerful.
Vegan is love.
Roth makes powerful statements inside the book and out. I grabbed these videos from Girlie Girl Army. Check out the fantastic responses Ruby Roth gives in an interview with CNN:
Overall, I have very few criticisms of the book. It’s a good book that will easily help teach young people how to live more compassionately or even just teach them why some people choose vegan.