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.