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That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things Hardcover – May 26, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Some may consider this an attempt to indoctrinate the young, but in truth it’s a courageous stab at a serious topic inherently hinted at through the anthropomorphizing of animals so prevalent in children’s books. By contrasting animal behavior in the wild with that of their counterparts in farms or factories, Roth makes a stark case that by harvesting sentient beings we are stripping them of their rights and natural desires. For example, wild turkeys “fly to the treetops to roost for the night,” but factory-farm turkeys are simply fattened until their wings become useless. Roth uses her own illustrations rather than photos, but she wisely does not make her animals too cute. Be warned: her depictions of poultry confined within filthy cages, while abstract, are fairly disturbing. Inevitably this will book incense those on the other side of the issue but there is much to be learned here (about animal behavior if nothing else). A unique effort that is to be applauded. Grades 3-6. --Daniel Kraus

Review

“This is a powerful and important book. Farm animals have emotions similar to our pets and this is conveyed in Roth's enchanting illustrations. It will make children—and their parents—think. But it will not lead to nightmares, rather respect and compassion for the creatures whose wellbeing is in our hands.”
Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

“A refreshing, sympathetic, and attractive book that children are smart enough to understand, embrace and grow up a little by reading.”
Ingrid Newkirk, founder, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

“Ruby Roth has done us all a great service. If your children are vegetarians, or have friends who are, or are simply interested in why people might be vegetarians, this is the book for them!”
John Robbins, bestselling author of The Food Revolution, Diet For A New America

“Where adults are more firmly entrenched in their ways, children need only the slightest insights and guidance, and off they soar into the direction of a more conscious and kind way of living. This book will help to create the much needed healers and leaders of tomorrow. ”
Kathy Freston, NY Times bestselling author of Quantum Wellness

“Like many people, I knew as a child that I didn't want to eat animals. That's Why We Don't Eat Animals would have offered me the guidance and inspiration I needed to understand those instincts. This book is a must-have for anyone who loves animals.”
Alicia Silverstone, actress, animal-rights activist

“In a time when we are all working to go green, I am thrilled that That's Why We Don't Eat Animals makes the connection between food and the environment, inspiring children to be aware and involved. ”
Ed Begley, actor, activist

“Stunning artwork, meaningful content, and a message that will inspire-this book is a must-read for every child. ”
Rory Freedman, NY Times bestselling author of Skinny Bitch

“Roth beautifully illustrates why we all love animals when we get the chance to experience their families and personalities. That's Why We Don't Eat Animals is a book I recommend to all parents and children. ”
David Wolfe, author of The Sunfood Diet Success System, founder of SunFood

“This book captures the imagination with its illustrations that subtly helps children understand the ancient teachings that animals have souls. Animals are our friends and we do not eat our friends. In this understanding it helps us create a more compassionate world. ”
Gabriel Cousens, M.D. author of Conscious Eating, and Spiritual Nutrition

"Declaring that 'All animals deserve the care and protection we give our pets,' newcomer Roth takes the vegetarian/vegan cause to young readers. Highly stylized illustrations against white backdrops depict angular caricatures of farm animals. Concluding with a list of tips for action around vegetarian/vegan ideals, this book is sure to raise awareness and questions."
Publishers Weekly

"A courageous stab at a serious topic inherently hinted at through the anthropomorphizing of animals so prevalent in children’s books. By contrasting animal behavior in the wild with that of their counterparts in farms or factories, Roth makes a stark case that by harvesting sentient beings we are stripping them of their rights and natural desires. Inevitably this will book incense those on the other side of the issue but there is much to be learned here (about animal behavior if nothing else). A unique effort that is to be applauded."
Booklist

"This book successfully tackles the tough subject [of veganism] with grace and clarity. This is a great addition to any compassionate kid’s library and will make a wonderful gift for any parents in your life who want to talk to their kids about animals but need a little help getting started."
PETA Living

That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals succeeds in raising awareness about where our food comes from and how our food choices affect other creatures and the environment. Roth touches on the conditions animals raised on factory farms endure…but she doesn’t get overly graphic…That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals nicely connected the dots between how humans treat animals and the impact our species has on the planet as a whole, with the basic premise being that a more enlightened attitude toward our food sources (of course, ideally that would mean becoming vegetarian) translates into a healthier planet.”
Wired

"Turkeys dance and grieve together; they blush and fly to the treetops when the moon comes out. In factory farms they have no freedom and are made too fat to fly."
Kirkus

“The artwork is bright and enchanting...the message is clear, simple, and compassionate.”
Change.org

“If each parent read this book to their child, I’m certain more children would consider becoming vegetarian.”
—Vegetarian Journal


That's Why We Don't Eat Animals is an elegantly written, beautifully illustrated children's book about the rationale for vegetarianism. [Roth] uses heartfelt, emotionally resonant language and art design to contrast the life lived by animals in the wild with the existence of animals in the factory farming system. This is a children's book with large ambitions...If the coming generations are going to strive for a more sustainable approach to filling their dining room tables, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals should certainly be in their bookcases.”
L.A. Yoga

“You can never be too young to join the fight against cruelty, and Roth's book looks like a great tool to help teach the younger generation about what's happening on factory farms.”
This Just In, VegNews blog

“An American teacher, writer and artist, Roth has come up with an innovative and somewhat controversial solution for helping children foster compassion towards animals-tell them the truth. That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things is the first book of its kind targeted toward young people. A candid, but gentle book that discusses what are normally considered taboo subjects for children, such as factory farming, battery hen cages, overfishing, habitat erosion, rainforest health and endangered species in relation to food.”
Green Muze

“The illustrations are fantastic, and the message is spot on.”
Vegan Dad blog

"The text does a fine job of explaining this potentially emotional issue without being too fraught with horrifying detail. Ruby Roth is a talented illustrator and author who has written a gently informative children's book that will be indispensable to thoughtful families everywhere. I am so grateful to her for making that inevitable talk a little bit easier."
Your Vegan Mom

That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals makes the case for both vegetarianism and veganism with gorgeous artwork and a clear, firm stance about the needs of animals and the peril to the greater environment.”
Vegan Future blog

“[That's Why We Don't Eat Animals] makes a sound, green argument for reducing animal consumption as well as eliminating factory farms. It offers another perspective that is missing from children's sections in libraries. It is a pleasure to find such a well-done book on the subject”
Kids Lit blog

“Though this book tackles a difficult subject for younger children, it does so well. This is a good book for vegetarian families or parents who are raising their kids veggie and want a way to explain it to them. Without getting too graphic (animals in confined cages are as dark as it gets), it explores basic issues of factory farming and discusses its effects on the environment. Roth is able to get her point across without becoming too preachy or delving into topics that aren't age-appropriate.
The Kids' Book Corner blog

“Wonderfully illustrated and inspiring for children of all ages, author Ruby Roth has tackled the complex moral and ethical issue of choosing to be a vegetarian, distilling it into a compassionate and informative snapshot of the emotional lives of animals in their natural state. That's Why We Don't Eat Animals is a timely reminder to look inside our hearts and reconsider the choices we make-and their impact on our fellow creatures and the well-being of the planet.”
New Consciousness Review

“For any parent looking for a children’s book to introduce some arguments on choosing the vegetarian lifestyle, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals is a great start.”
Vegetarian Star

“[That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals] was not grotesque or militant in any way… just straightforward about the reality of eating animals and what that means for the animals and the planet…Thumbs up to Ruby Roth, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals rocks!”
Nature Moms

That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals is quickly becoming a must-have book!”
Ecorazzi

“Each animal on a farm is contrasted with the animal in its natural, social habitat through entertaining drawings…Research for the book was collected from zoologists, animal behaviorists, neuropsychiatrists, pet therapy programs, oceanographers, farmers and animal sanctuaries…”
The Washington Times

“It is good to finally have a book that portrays the philosophy of veganism as a reasoned, principled belief and not as a fickle food choice.”
New Age Journal

“The text confronts kids head-on with questions that will get them thinking…”
—Heeb’n’Vegan

“[That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals] is heirloom quality and destined to be read over and over again.”
—Green Baby NYC

“This beautifully illustrated book explains simply and gently why so many families have decided to leave meat off the menu…The pages are filled with gorgeous color, top notch drawings, and a vast array of unforgettable critters. Any child being raised in a vegetarian home will be able to comfortably understand why their family isn’t lined up at the McDonald’s drive thru or serving turkey come Thanksgiving.”
dkMommySpot

“[That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals is] the first book geared to children to address the humanitarian aspects of a plant-based diet.”
—Huffington Post

“[Ruby Roth’s] stunning artwork mesmerizes readers… this book is sure to be a wonderful conversation starter between children and their adult counterparts for many story times to come.”
—VegBooks


“Get this book! Ruby Roth's That's Why We Don't Eat Animals is quickly gaining acclaim and recognition… a welcome addition to the vegetarian and vegan landscape.”
—LifeTips.com

“The book illustrates in a gentle yet powerful way, the reasons why some Earthlings choose not to eat meat. It is a beautiful book about compassion.”
Mother Rising

“The graphics are amazing… this book is not only a great tool for teaching your kids why they are vegetarian or vegan but also to teach adults and others why it is important not to eat meat.”
—Cooking for a Vegan Lover

“If you are planning on raising a vegetarian child who will be well-prepared to explain his or her beliefs to inquiring peers, teachers, and friends’ parents, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals is a great start… The animals are charmingly drawn in a caricaturist, almost geometric style, and their environments are depicted with bright or dark colors, depending on their living conditions. The vocabulary is simple and straightforward, doesn’t get too dark or complicated for children, and avoids a preachy, overbearing tone in favor of a sensitive, informative one.”
—Feminist Review

“Roth’s artistry brings the story to life through color and rigid form.”
—Farmbrarian

“Ruby’s beautiful illustrations are colorful and whimsical, and they have a way of keeping my daughter’s eyes glued to the page! ... This is by far the most gentle, yet eye opening, animal rights book available for our youngest generation!”
The Vegan Mom


“[That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals is] a delightful, beautifully illustrated guide to some of the world’s most pressing topics—from health to environment to animal protection—for children ages 4-10.”
Elephant Journal

“Roth created her new illustrated book, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals, for elementary school aged children, exploring topics such as factory farming, overfishing and rainforest destruction in a manner that is truthful, yet age-appropriate.”
—Compassionate Living Magazine

“Roth gently discusses what is wrong with the way we raise food… If each parent read this book to their child, I'm certain more children would consider becoming vegetarian.”
—Vegetarian Resource Group

“A book written for children and their families, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals is just as vital an addition to the veg-friendly library as John Robbin's The Food Revolution or Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, because its simple, yet profound message—that the animals of this world have as much a desire to live and love their families as we do—is enough to become a seed of change for good in the hearts of children and grown-ups alike. I've never seen a book that handles the subject of factory farming, overfishing, and the destruction of our fellow animals and planet so delicately.”
Kiss Me, I'm Vegan

“I recently began my search for a simple, clear children's book about vegetarianism. I wanted something more than a story about an unrealistic, cartoon animal, as well as a story that touched on the environment and American factory farms… I was really happy to find That's Why We Don't Eat Animals by Ruby Roth.”
—Erin, MN Veggie Mama

That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals is a milestone in children’s literature.”
Vegetarians in Paradise

“Ruby's illustrations are just superb. She has an abstract style and the animals are almost, but not quite, painted in caricature. I commend her for making a visually pleasing book while not shying away from the realities of animal use. That's Why We Don't Eat Animals covers just about every aspect of animal exploitation, and does it in a sensitive way that breaks the awful truth to our children as easily as possible.”
Raw on $10 a Day (or Less!)

"A gorgeously illustrated children’s book that we are just mad for."
The GirlieGirl Army
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 4
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 1 edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556437854
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556437854
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 0.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media


More About the Author

Featured on CNN, FOX, Today, and other major media outlets, Ruby Roth is the world's leading author and illustrator of vegan and vegetarian books for children.

Vegan since 2003, Roth was teaching art at an elementary school when her students' fascination with veganism inspired her to write That's Why We Don't Eat Animals in 2009--the first book of its kind in children's literature. Vegan Is Love and V Is for Vegan followed. Today, Roth's books have been translated into multiple languages including German, Italian, Korean, French, Polish, and Slovenian.

Roth has received international attention for her sensitive, yet frank advocacy of a vegan diet and lifestyle. Complementing her degrees in art and American Studies, she has researched animal agriculture, health, nutrition, and the benefits of a plant-based diet for over a decade. For more information, visit www.WeDontEatAnimals.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Adams on June 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My husband and I have read this very important book many times to our 7-and 3-year-old boys since it arrived 2 weeks ago. Both boys LOVE the story and the illustrations. The ideas are easy for them to comprehend and appreciate, and they have increased both their vocabulary and their understanding of their own veganism. That's Why We Don't Eat Animals has led to many meaningful conversations with our boys (both vegan since conception) about the impact of personal choice on the earth/animals. While my 7-year-old often reads the book on his own, my 3 year old also loves the book and is now able to talk more freely about his "gentle/peaceful choices" to be kind to animals. My boys make thoughtful, informed decisions every day about their diets, their lifestyles, their behavior, and their impact on the world. However, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals gives the ethics of veganism a voice that can be understood and appreciated by ALL children. Having read this book aloud to a group of 20+ preschoolers, it is clear that it is accessible to children of ANY age or level of independent thinking. What a huge bonus that this message is packaged in such fantastic illustrations that create empathy and adoration for animals everywhere.

-Michelle in San Leandro CA
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful By The Feel Good Vegan on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book to hopefully give my 7 year old a pictorial explanation about animal agriculture. The subject matter is not new to him; he has been raised a vegan in a vegan household. I just thought it might be nice to have a book about it, too. The book does a superb job of showing heartwarming sides of each animal that are very touching and the artwork starts out really fun and interesting. As the pages were turned, however, the artwork grew darker to the point where my child could not distinguish a flower on one page. Soon after that, although he normally enjoys being read to, my son turned away so he didn't have to look at the book anymore. I understand that this is a difficult subject that most people do not want to hear about (including my vegan child). I can talk about this painful subject with him but scary pictures are too much. I continued reading the book for myself and found that it does end on a really positive note with bright, colorful and happy artwork on the last page, along with another page listing suggestions for getting involved.

This book may be better aimed at pre-teens. It is definitely too dark and scary for young children. I would suggest that the pictures be bright all the way through: even the artwork of factory farms could be tempered with brightness outside of the buildings. I would also suggest that the book be peppered with alternative suggestions for what kids can do instead of saving it for the last two pages. I appreciate the author's genuine effort. It's a tough subject to cover for kids.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By David B. Busch on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Although I have no children of my own, I had to buy this book. The illustrations are beautiful, and the message is simple but poignant. I've been using it as a coffee table book, and it is a good conversation starter. It's so pretty to page through, and it is a story that is usually ignored amongst children's books. If you have people in your life, young or old, who would never watch Earthlings or something equally intimidating but you'd still like for them to understand why you live a vegan lifestyle, pass on this book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Christy Long on October 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my three-year old, but he is emotionally not ready for this. But, he is a child that was mortified by a baby-einstein video when the duck puppet fell down. The book puts approximately equal weight on the positive (happy things the animals do in their natural environ) and the negative (poor conditions of factory farming). The book includes non-graphic, but sad images of animals in factory-farm conditions such as tiny, cramped cages. This would devastate my child at his current age, but I think as he gets older, he'll mature into it. In a few years, I'll show him this book. It's a simple statement of here's the animal in nature and what the animal needs and then here's how the animal is treated in a factory farm.

It's a great idea for older kids. It's also a good, quality hardcover.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Randy Spiro on June 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ruby's book is an especially effective teaching aide because it helps children understand why they should not eat animals by contrasting the consequences for animals where they have been raised for slaughter with those where the animals are allowed the dignity of a normal life.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Christy Hawkins on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is my 3 year old's new favorite book. After reading it, he said, "I wish everyone would be vegan, so those animals wouldn't have to be at the factory farm." I was worried about exposing him to the sad dark nature that is the meat industry, but it is described gently and the illustrations are excellent. I'm an artist and I won't buy a kid's book if it's illustrations are bad, which I find way too common. These are quality interesting paintings. My vegan family LOVES this book and would recommend it to anyone, vegetarian or not!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Anderson on May 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this beautiful, touching book last night for the first time with my 3 year old son. He was so engaged, right from the beginning, which I'm sad to say is not his usual! He asked so many questions about why the animals looked sad, and were in cages. I told him it was so people could eat them later, and he said "but that's not right...I'm going to get those cows out with my super powers!" (and continued to show me his muscles). He also asked me why I was crying. I truly believe that this book opened the door for us to talk about why we don't eat any animals in a way that he could understand, all the while being a visually stunning (and heart wrenching) book. I told my omnivore husband, I'm still working on him, to feel free to read it to our son today while I was at work. Maybe something will click within him and he'll see the sadness that comes from eating animals. Until then, I'll read this beautiful book to my sons knowing that we're doing the right thing. The book also touches on habitat destruction & endangered species, and gives ways to continue to help our world and the animals that we share it with, which was a nice addition at the end. Please, please, please buy or borrow this book, and share with as many humans as you can.
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