Kids don’t need fictional super-heroes
We don’t need to make up fictional vegan superheroes when we have plenty of animals that show us how it is possible to be super healthy, extremely strong and amazingly fast just by eating plant-based food.
I’m afraid it won’t help much if we just give kids a lecture on nutrition. I think that young children can learn more from a monkey or an elephant in a story than from an adult telling them to ‘eat your veggies!’ ☺
The vegan story ‘An Unordinary Lion’ is written to encourage children, in an imaginative and artistic way, to eat fruits and vegetables. The superheroes of this book are wild animals such as the lion, zebra, antelope, monkey, giraffe, and elephant. And not to worry; no-one gets eaten as they do on the Discovery Channel!
What can we learn from animals?
Children love animals and like to identify with them. Favorite types of books for children are fables. Fables are short stories written in prose or verse in which the main characters are often animals. In fables, animals adopt human characteristics. They represent different characters and types of people in our world. The fox is clever and cunning, the lion is a ruler and a tyrant, the sheep or rabbit are naïve, the worm is lazy, and the ant is diligent.
Every fable has some moral lesson. Through the animal characters, the fable writer wants to show how some human traits are good and desirable, while others are not. Bad traits are often ridiculed, such as boasting, stupidity, selfishness, envy, greed, and laziness.
‘An Unordinary Lion’ is a fable in which the animal characters give us a lesson about how fast, healthy and strong we can be just by eating vegetables and fruits.
Tree main reasons for going vegan
The main character is the king of animals – the mighty lion. Like any other lion, he used hunting to capture and eat animals who were unlucky to escape.
Of course, in real life, it is natural for a lion to eat meat, and this is not questionable. However, the lion in the fable is representing human beings who consider themselves dominant over other species and feel entitled to catch, imprison, torture and eat animals.
To understand this fable, it is useful to mention that there are three main reasons why someone becomes vegan: for health, ethical, or environmental reasons. Many people start eating plant foods only after they become ill. In this fable, the lion is initially also motivated for health reasons and this later develops into ethical ones.
The lion’s metamorphosis begins when he hurts his leg while hunting for his prey. While he is lying down helplessly, he starts to look at other animals differently. This sense of vulnerability helps him to reflect on his way of life, and he begins to feel empathy for other living beings.
The lion also represents those people who decide to get better informed about healthy eating, just like many have done after watching the documentary ‘The Game Changers’ about the benefits of plant-based eating for athletes.
The lion character represents all those athletes and vegans who break the misconceptions about how important it is for strength and endurance to eat animal-based foods. The most obvious example of this in the story are the elephant, zebra, and antelope. They are all herbivores, yet they are very powerful, fast, or agile.
The fable of the lion is lastly a metaphorical vision of a better and fairer world in which people can live in peace with themselves and other sentient beings: in harmony with nature.