That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things, 2009
Written and Illustrated by Ruby Roth
Almost immediately upon opening That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, by Ruby Roth, it was clear that this book was more than just some average children’s story book. There is a detailed and explanatory nature to this book which not only provides a clear, informative read, but it also respects the intellect of children and their ability to follow and comprehend the story’s narrative and message.
It makes connections between friends and food, ie. birds and “poultry,” and includes factual details about various species such as that pigs don’t sweat. There is also an effective use of vocabulary that is refreshingly honest and to the point. For instance, the author refers to “free” as opposed to factory-farmed pigs as well as ducks and geese that are “caged behind bars and force-fed.”
Ruby Roth, condenses everything into the simple concepts they really are, providing an informative message that can have a powerful impact. For example, in a particularly poignant quote she states that, “[a] free pig never poops where she eats or sleeps, but on a factory farm she has no choice.” Further, children are encouraged to think about these topics in order to realise that their choices and actions affect others. And that they are intelligent, responsible beings capable of not only understanding this, but they have the power to change their behaviour if they so choose.
Complementing the powerful linguistic imagery, this book has great illustrations that are detailed and effective in conveying their message, drawing parallels between human emotions and behaviour and that of other non-human animals. These illustrations really help to characterise the common themes of love and respect. The images capture and portray the complex emotions that other animals feel, showing the reader that if we are able to see and understand this we can learn to respect them for it and relate to them better, finding more profound commonalities that we all share and to focus on those similarities rather than our differences.
That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, covers more topics than just land animals, it also includes issues surrounding the oceans, rainforests, and endangered species. It encourages children to consciously think about these topics and how “we must consider how the foods we eat affect the planet.” For, “[when] we eat natural foods…. We grow to be healthier and pay more attention to our choices.”
Subsequently, there are even tips for how to put to use the information just learned. This shows children just how they can act, encouraging them to take control of their lives and realise that they can have an impact and make decisions and choices about their own life, for, “[every] day, we have the freedom to change our lives.”
It may be aimed at children, but That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals can truly be a book for everyone. The concepts really are simple ones. For, the overarching themes of this book are love, respect, and taking responsibility for our actions, realising and acknowledging that we have the power and freedom to change our behaviour in a way that benefits ourselves, others, and the planet.
You can find this, along with other books by Ruby Roth on Amazon (see below). You may also want to visit the author’s art site, the “kids” page has some great vegan-interest illustrations!
Have you already read the book and have some feedback? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below.
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