In V is for Vegan, Ruby Roth introduces three-to-five-year-olds to the "ABCs" of a vegan lifestyle. A must-have for vegan and vegetarian parents, Roth brings her characteristic insight, compassion, and good humor to a younger audience, presenting the often-controversial and challenging subjects of animal rights and the vegan diet in an easy-tounderstand and teachable format.
Roth introduces little herbivores to the major vegan food groups (beans, grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits) as well as the ways we can protect animals and the environment. Colorful, upbeat, and fun, V Is for Vegan helps boost the confidence of vegan children about to enter school and helps parents explain their ethical worldview in a way their young children will grasp.
Ruby Roth is an acclaimed activist, artist, former teacher, and author whose children's books have been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post, The Washington Times, Change.org, Glamour, and Wired as well as on The Today Show, FOX, ABC, CNN, and other major media outlets. She first discovered children's interest in veganism while teaching art at an elementary school. Complementing her degrees in art and American studies, she has researched animal agriculture, health, nutrition, and the benefits of a plant-based diet for nearly a decade. Her first book, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals, was published in 2009. A vegan since 2003, she lives in Los Angeles.
What inspired you to write V Is for Vegan?
Vegan babies are everywhere! Since 2009, the work of dedicated activists has been successful, and the population of vegans has more than doubled. A growing number of parents are raising vegan and vegan-ish kids. These parents are committed to the ethics of veganism as well as the health and environmental benefits, but they’re still learning how to explain often complex motives to the kidlets. I wanted to make that task easy and fun with a rhyming prequel to That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals and Vegan Is Love. V Is for Vegan is a really fun way to teach the youngest of kids an A-to-Z vocabulary to encourage a conscious and engaged life—in a light-hearted, hilarious way. And for vegans without kids, V Is for Vegan is a great novelty item to keep on your office desk, in your classroom, waiting room, or on your coffee table so your non-vegan friends might take a look. Flipping through an illustrated kids book is totally non-intimidating and they might learn something, too. Like I always say, my books are so easy even adults can understand.
Do you think that vegan parents might be forcing their views onto their kids?
No way! Kids can’t make choices if they don’t know there are any. On the daily, every vegan child will be exposed to the option of eating meat and dairy because it is omnipresent as soon as you walk out your door—but most meat-eating children will never be exposed to the effect that eating animals has on health, the animals themselves, and the environment—at least not until later in life after eating meat and dairy has become completely habitualized and normalized. What choice did they have in that matter? The reality for every vegan parent is that even if we wanted to, we can not enforce our views about veganism onto our kids, but rather only normalize an alternative to the status quo.
Why do you think that early childhood is an appropriate time to introduce kids to veganism?
We can’t afford to wait until they’re older to teach a new generation new ways of loving, thinking, and behaving. Health, pollution, animal abuse, water waste—these problems are getting exponentially worse—but exponentially better at the same time. Through the work of individuals creating changes in their thinking and behavior, we can encourage societal solutions that will last lifetimes—and with this kind of education, our children will do even better
than we did.
With a rhyming alphabet book, you can only fit in so much! How did you choose what to include?
The rhyming structure was a self-imposed—but fun—limitation. It pushed me creatively to fit in everything I wanted—the main plant-based food groups, a couple nods to the groups we consider non-food, and some concepts about rescuing, the environment, recycling, clothing, animals in entertainment, and animal testing. It took some humor and clever wording, but I got everything in. There is always more to say, but you have to leave room for a child’s imagination. It’s more important to me to create a jumping-off point for endless learning than it is to cover every idea in the world.
What is the message you want adults and children to take away from this book?
Veganism is a joy and something to be very proud of! It is a life of heart, thought, and action. I hope reading this book with children creates laughter, learning, confidence, eagerness, and a shared feeling of love.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ruby when I was in Los Angeles in May. Here's our interview:
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