Can you watch disturbing documentaries on industrial animal breeding and the scenes of torture and slaughter without wanting to close your eyes and cover your ears? I personally cannot because afterward, I feel traumatized. Now imagine showing the same content to your children. You would prefer to wait for them to grow up and be emotionally mature enough to look at something like that. Those bloody images would surely be etched into their memory and perhaps even become a nightmare. However, children need to be educated on these issues in order to be aware of the world in which we live.
Vegan children’s books are a good way to educate young children about veganism and make them aware of the unjust treatment of animals. In some books, those messages are delivered in violent terms and images which could shock kids and make them feel fearful. In my books, I avoid violent terms and illustrations such as torturing, slaughtering and showing blood because I find that children are not emotionally prepared to deal with such horrific content. I think it is possible to reach the child’s mind and heart through imagination and metaphor because children better understand the language of images.
In the story ‘The Not-So Crazy Cow’, there is a scene where the cow walks into a fast-food restaurant. You can tell that the chef wants to slaughter and make a burger from her, but I used other words that would not shock the young reader, writing that they did not treat her in the restaurant as a guest but as food. Inference encourages children to be more active readers and to ask questions and draw conclusions. Rarely will a parent just put a book on the shelf after reading it, but they will engage in a discussion with their children about it.
Five main purposes of vegan books:
Vegan children’s books are a great way to introduce children to the world of veganism. Through various scenarios, characters, and metaphors, children learn:
How the vegan diet has all the nutritional ingredients they need for healthy development
How the breeding of animals for food is cruel and destroys nature
How animals were not created just to be eaten
How animals are affectionate, intelligent and social beings
Although it’s great that a book contains facts, the style with which children’s books are written is important. If it all came down to a mere flurry of data, no matter how useful it might be, such literature might disengage both children and parents.
2. Encourage empathy
Teaching your child not to stand on a bug is just as beneficial for them as it is for the bug. The fight for animal rights is not only beneficial to animals because through the act of kindness towards them the child is also taught basic human values such as responsibility, selflessness, and respect for all living beings. Empathy is an important part of emotional human intelligence that helps a child develop healthy interpersonal contacts through life. It is a special human quality to connect with other living beings despite belonging to another species.
3. Call for action
One of the roles of vegan picture books for children is to educate future generations who will not only calmly observe injustice but will do something concrete to reduce it. That is why the value of these stories is to drive action. In the story ‘The Pig Who Made It Big’, the director decides to save the pig from its inadvertent fate while in the ‘The Doctor Donkey‘, the boy refuses to ride the donkey and decides to become a veterinarian to help the donkeys by opening a sanctuary. The ending of the book ‘The Turtle Who Fights for Animal Rights‘ is a direct call to action because the main character tells the readers that the fate of animals is in the hands of each of us.
4. To be informed
We live in a society dominated by omnivores, and vegan children often find themselves defending their veganism to other children. Vegan books can serve as great material for them to find many arguments to support their views and make it easier for them to get better at discussions. ‘The Turtle Who Fights for Animal Rights‘ outlines a number of facts about how the egg and milk industry is based on animal torture, and that humans are the only living beings in the world who drink the milk of another species. This book mentions quotes and views of many world-renowned plant-based historical figures whose words are powerful to this day.
5. Think critically
Animals often cannot defend themselves and have had their rights taken away by humans. Through vegan literature, children learn what it is like to speak on someone’s behalf and put themselves in someone else’s position. They also learn that we need to take a critical step back from what mainstream media tells us and resist these common ideologies that impose a system of values on society that is based on violence.