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Children's book promoting veganism gets mixed reception from experts

Author Ruby Roth's new book 'Vegan Is Love' discusses how food gets from the farm to the kitchen table.

By / April 20, 2012

'Vegan Is Love' is the second title from author Ruby Roth, who released 'That's Why We Don't Eat Animals' in 2009.

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A children’s book that has yet to be released has already become controversial for its pro-veganism message.

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“Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action” written and illustrated by Ruby Roth, discusses testing on animals, farming practices and other issues. The book, which is the second for Roth after her first title “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals,” will be released April 24.

Dietician Nicole German wrote online that she thinks the book’s tactics would simply frighten a child into changing their dietary habits.

“The main problem I have with this book is that children are impressionable, and this is too sensitive of a topic to have a child read this book,” German wrote. “It could easily scare a young child into eating vegan, and, without proper guidance, that child could become malnourished.”

Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, told ABC News that he believes children should have as many options for animal and plant food as possible when they're young so they can make their own dietary choices.

“Any time you limit the variety of healthy foods, you chance limiting the nutrients they get," Ayoob said. "Over time, that can catch up with them."

However, others say they think the book could bring what they believe is much-needed awareness to children about where their food and other everyday items are coming from.

“Adults are too willing to turn a blind eye to the way our animal-based diets are achieved,” Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Center, told ABC. “Adults can make the conscious choice not to look there, to help protect a lifetime of dietary preferences. Kids are more malleable and impressionable. Maybe childhood is the best time to create awareness and change behavior accordingly.”

Roth, who is vegan along with her two children, told ABC that it was her wish to reach future decision-makers that prompted her to put her message in children’s book format.

“I decided to write a book for a new generation who will need to think, eat, and treat the environment differently if we are to solve the most looming health and environmental issues,” the author said. “With vegan choices, we can affect every major industry and reach every corner of the world.”

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

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