Vegan Salt –the blog











{August 15, 2010}   “Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice” -Book Writeup

Naturally, when author Nathalie VanBalen contacted me and introduced me to her new childrens’ book, I was excited.  There simply aren’t many books out there for kids whose parents are swimming upstream, raising them to eat and live kindly.  Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice is a picture book about these quirky plush vikings —> who are passionate about, of all things, juicing.   They discover that yellow spotted snails can make a nutritious supplement for juice, but the snails don’t want to be eaten!  Their friend Thora urges the vikings to think about the effects of their actions.

This book does the same.  It doesn’t tell children what to do.  Instead, it respects the intelligence of young readers (and listeners) by asking open-ended questions and trusting them to seek out their own answers.   “How does it feel to be food?”  “Why do people love some animals and eat others?” These are tough questions, even for adults, to face.  But children have a remarkable ability to examine and to challenge the world around them.

I admire the angle this story comes from.  It manages to go right to the heart of veganism (compassion and respect for other living creatures) without hitting any of the taboo ground of factory farms, slaughterhouses, or other truths too nightmarish for some kind-hearted children.

Kids and adults will enjoy Nathalie’s unusual and inviting illustrations, (the lovable dolls are also sold individually on the site), and the overt plug for eating more healthy fruits and vegetables is an added bonus! To see more of the adorable characters in the book, and to get a copy for a child in your life, go to www.thorathinks.com.

*Just a note on the subject of children and veganism.  I’ve heard it said that books with a vegan message are pushing an agenda onto children through propaganda.  While that may be true, the same can be said of anything and everything that is directed at children; for example, McDonald’s “Happy Meals” push the message that these chicken nuggets are happy to be your food, which is patently false.  Children deserve honesty and the opportunity to make informed choices.

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ailanna says:

Sounds like fun! I was interning with North Atlantic Books when they published a vegan picture book I like a lot (but is definitely for older readers): That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals by Ruby Roth. Of all the messages directed at kids, I think compassion should be the least objectionable.



Cristy says:

It’s nice to see a bit of “propaganda” that encourages kids to be kind and live compassionately and THINK. There are already too many lies being fed to kids as “fun”…



Even though I choose not to eat and live “kindly”, as you put it… I have always thought it was really important to tell my daughter exactly what the food we’re eating is, what is alive and conscious… and we don’t use the terms “beef” or “pork”. We tell her that it’s cow and pig.
Some people are appalled that I would choose to inform her of this harsh reality at such a young age. I find it really strange, because to me.. it’s about breeding accountability. If I am going to choose to live in such a way that includes being a meat eater, why should I deny that and hide it from her?

People are so strange when it comes to these issues and child rearing.
I would buy this book simply because it would show my meat eating kid that A) some people choose not to eat meat, and these are some reasons why….
B)Other lifestyles aren’t wrong. They’re just different.

We have a book about adoption, even though she’s not adopted. We send her to church, even though we don’t believe.
I might be a book about choosing not to eat snails, even though I choose to eat living beings daily. Because my choices won’t define my daughters. 🙂
Great post.



*buy a book, not be. ha.



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