article was written by Michelle Carr.
the success of That's Why We Don't Eat
Animals, a book by Ruby Roth about teaching kids compassion, Roth now has a
second children's book, Vegan Is Love,
set to be released on April 24. In an exclusive interview, she discusses her
inspiration and offers advice on how parents can get active for animals. Be
sure to check back early next month because we'll be giving away a copy of Vegan Is Love to one lucky winner!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! How long
have you been vegan, and why did you make the decision?
In 2003 a friend
challenged me to go vegan as a health experiment. I tried it for a few months,
and I stopped getting colds, I lost weight, I woke up early full of energy, and
I could feel my body running off of clean fuel. It was like taking off a heavy
jacket and starting to run … so I never went back! Then when I started
researching our food and animal agriculture systems, my world was really blown
open. Everything in my life—from my grandparents' experience in the Holocaust
to my progressive upbringing and alternative education, to my interest in
social justice should have led to my having been vegan already. But until my
friend opposed my thinking, my values didn't match my eating habits. They do
That's Why We
Don't Eat Animals is an immensely
popular kids' book. What was the inspiration behind the book?
I was teaching
art at an elementary school when the kids began questioning why I didn't eat
the string cheese and milk they were served at recess. As I quietly and gently
shared my reasons (I got braver later), I was shocked to find that they were
interested, curious, inquisitive. Right away, I looked for a book I could bring
to them, but I couldn't find one that wasn't about a talking animal or
vegetable—I felt these kids were too cool and smart for that, they wouldn't pay
attention to silliness. With degrees in American studies and art, I decided to
create the book myself.
You have a new kids' book, Vegan Is Love, coming out on April 24. How is this book different
from That's Why We Don't Eat Animals?
Where the first
book is about the "why," the second is about the "how." Vegan Is Love is about sending our love
across the world through everyday choices. From the food we eat to the dollars
we spend to the clothing and entertainment we choose, anyone and everyone can
make a vegan choice. This book shows children how. I consider it a kid's guide
to "occupying" the world!
When you aren't writing wonderful children's books,
what can we find you doing?
When I'm not
developing books, researching and blogging, prepping food for my family,
graphic designing, fashion illustrating, and being the woman-of-the-house, you
can usually find me at a farmer's market! I kid you not, there are three nearby
me during the week, and sometimes I go to ALL of them! It's joy, church,
community, my social life, and grocery shopping rolled into one.
As I'm sure you would agree, kids are integral to
creating a kinder world. What would you suggest for how parents can get their
kids active for animals?
Wanting to help animals—or the environment,
people, and Earth—comes first from having a sense of the world and our place in
it. Have fun diving into analytical, interesting conversations with your
child—at the grocery store when you're buying cruelty-free shampoo, at the
farmer's market when you're handing over dollars for fruit, when you're reading
homework textbooks and see the food group charts, when you see an ad for
chicken nuggets during Sesame Street.
Ask your children for their opinions on important subjects so they begin
formulating morals and values on their own. It's fun and enlightening, their
answers can be so insightful. And it's this kind of education in critical and
compassionate thinking that lasts a lifetime.
in touch with Ruby on her website
and on Facebook! For
more information about teaching kids compassion, be sure to check out PETA Kids and TeachKind,
PETA's humane-education division.
tools do you use to teach your child to be kind to animals? Share your
parenting tips with the rest of us in the comments below!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.