Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Vegan is Love

Author and Illustrator: Ruby Roth

Grade Level: 2-5 

Buy it here!


Ruby Roth opens Vegan is Love by defining what it means to be vegan in a way that children can easily understand, "To be vegan means to care deeply about how our choices help or harm animals". Throughout the book, Roth explains how our decisions as human beings affect other living things such as animals. Many human beings love animals, but we harm them because of the lifestyle we choose to live. Roth stresses throughout the book that we need to put our love for animals into action. We have the power to change how the world treats animals. For instance, we can start by avoiding circuses and zoos where animals are held captive rather than living in their natural environments. We can also purchase food and clothing that is not made from animals. Others may notice the decisions we make in our own neighborhoods, and eventually our actions have to opportunity to go global. Roth ultimately leaves the final decision up to the reader at the end of the book. She has taken action by providing us with the information we need to make the decision, but in the end it is up to each and every one of us to choose what we eat and how we want to live.

Element 6 Taking Social Action: 
Vegan is Love educates children to be conscious of the decisions they make in their lives. The author encourages us to consider who or what may be affected by our decisions. Vegan is Love illustrates a lifestyle where we eat animals, use them for clothing, and cage them for the public to view. However, this children's book allows its readers to take a step back, and think if this lifestyle is really worth it. Moreover, is this the way we want to treat other living things? Vegan is Love allows both children and adults to realize that they can make a choice, and take action for a better outcome. Ruby Roth stresses the importance of having a heart when making decisions. The decisions we make are very powerful, and there are many things we can do in order to make the world a more vegan-friendly place. Roth even includes a list of activities to get us started on putting our love for animals into action.

In the book, Ruby Roth includes a page titled "What Else Can We Do?" Here, Roth provides us with a list of activities we can use to take action toward a vegan-friendly world. The list includes activities in grocery stores, schools, pet stores, and even at home. I would definitely provide students with a copy of these activities after reading the book Vegan is Love. If the students are interested in participating in any of these activities they now have the resources available to them. In addition to Roth’s resources, I have created an activity that can put our love for animals into action right in our school. As part of an LAL lesson, the students will be asked to develop persuasive letters requesting a vegan-friendly option in the school cafeteria. We are not demanding that all food sold in the cafeteria be vegan, but we are asking for a vegan option. Students do not have much say in what their guardians purchase from grocery stores; therefore, this activity will allow the students to make a decision on the foods they eat and the lifestyle they want to live in their school community.

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