I was inspired to create Vegbooks after watching a Sesame Street DVD with my daughter, which featured a cow encouraging kids to drink her milk. I was so upset that animal agribusiness was being marketed to children so young — even via respectable media outlets like PBS — that I scoured the web for a comprehensive guide to kids books and movies from a veg*n perspective. Finding none, I decided to begin my own.
2. What are the obstacles raising children vegan?
Our culture isn’t vegan, so there are a host of issues that arise with raising a child with vegan values. Not only do you have to prepare your child to be refuse familiar foods that are not in fact vegan — What, Mom, people make cookies with chickens’ eggs?! — but you also need to work to counter all of the pro-animal consumption messages that are simply part of our culture. The commercialization of childhood is ubiquitous. For example, my daughter’s pre-k teacher recently joked with the class about Ronald McDonald and Chuck E. Cheese, simply expecting that they would be familiar figures to all the kids. My daughter, of course, had never even heard of them.
3. When and why did you decide to go vegan?
I became a vegan at age 17. I was a vegetarian, and when I learned how eggs and dairy were produced for human consumption, I knew I couldn’t support those practices. My parents had never met a vegan before and were overwhelmed by my decision, and so I ended up doing a lot of the shopping and cooking for the family until I went to
4. Where is your favorite local place to get vegan food? What’s your favorite dish?
5. What has been the feedback of VegBooks from other vegan mothers and parents?
When I started Vegbooks, I was the sole reviewer. The response of other vegetarian and vegan parents and educators has been so overwhelming though that it’s now a completely collaborative effort, with a half-dozen regular contributors. We’re all busy people, but raising children with veg*n values is so important to all of us that we find the time to share our takes on the books and movies our families are reading and watching. I’m lucky to have so many talented, compassionate people involved.
6. What is your favorite book to share with a child?
Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss. The fundamental message is one of defending the powerless, no matter the cost. It’s an incredibly brave book.
7. What has been the most rewarding part raising a vegan child?
My daughter amazes me! I’m remarkably proud of her self-discipline and self-awareness — two traits that our veganism has helped her develop at a very early age. Not only is she able to hold back when she realizes that a dietary choice would harm animals, but she has started donating her own money, earned from chores around the house, to charities focused on relieving poverty.