Children’s books are a fantastic way to teach our little ones important lessons about values and compassion. Unfortunately, many books written for children do not focus on cruelty-free living. Some imply that animals are eaten. Many glorify the farmer who raises animals for food. If you are raising your child to be a compassionate vegan, continue reading for a list of children’s books that offer vegan-friendly stories celebrating kindness and compassion for all animals.
Three to seven-year-olds can learn their ABC’s while also learning compassion in Ruby Roth’s V is for Vegan. This book presents the basics of animal rights and vegan diets with fun rhymes and colorful illustrations by the author.
Another fun book by Ruby Roth, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, introduces children aged six to ten to vegetarianism and veganism. Roth shows the difference between animals’ lives in their natural environment and the lives of those on factory farms. The book also addresses the environmental effects of eating meat.
Wild Librarian Bakery and Bookstore by Stacy Russo introduces readers aged four through adult to librarian Stella Peabody. Stella’s dream is to open a combination bookstore and bakery. This book is an inspiring story about following your dreams and includes vegan recipes.
Kira Down Under and Kira’s Animal Rescue by Erin Teagan are books 1 and 2 of the American Girl series about Kira Bailey. Kira is an avid animal lover who works at an animal sanctuary in Australia. She is committed to rescuing animals in need. This book is a perfect read for young animal activists.
In The Forgotten Rabbit by Nancy Furstinger, Bella the rabbit shows us what happens when we purchase a pet on impulse. At first, Bella is loved and played with by the brother and sister who bought her for Easter. As time goes on, however, the children lose interest, and Bella becomes neglected and forgotten. Finally, Bella finds a happy home with someone who loves her. This book is an excellent opportunity to talk to children about our responsibility when bringing a new pet into our home.
Dave is an alien from another planet who loves all of Earth’s animals. He knows tons of facts about his animal friends and encourages us to practice compassion and kindness. Dave Loves Chickens by Carlos Patino is a beautiful example of how we should treat all animals.
Jasper is a moon bear who lived for years in captivity, having bile harvested from his body repeatedly by farmers who sold it for use in medicines. Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears by Jill Robinson explains the horrible process moon bears endure and follows Jasper’s journey to recovery at an animal sanctuary after his rescue.
Maya Gottfried tells the stories of the animals living in Farm Sanctuary, a rescue for abused or injured farm animals, from their point of view in Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary. Real animals living in the sanctuary inspired this book of poetry.
The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane shares the real-life story of Esther, a mini pig who turned out not to be so mini. After realizing that Esther was quickly growing too large for their small apartment, her two dads decided to move the whole family to a large farm which soon became a sanctuary for all kinds of animals.
Gwen, the Rescue Hen by Leslie Crawford tells the story of Gwen, an egg-laying hen who has spent her entire life in a hen house. After a tornado rips the roof off the building she is housed in, she and her fellow chickens find themselves suddenly free. Gwen finds a whole new world she never knew existed. Gwen’s story sheds light on how animals live on factory farms. This story is the second book in Stone Pier Press’s Farm Animal Rescue series.
Ann Whitford Paul’s picture book If Animals Said I Love You asks, “What if animals did what YOU did?” and answers with the unique ways animals could show love. The board book is part of a series of preschool books, including If Animals Celebrated Christmas, If Animals Kissed Goodnight, If Animals Gave Thanks, and If Animals Went to School.
In Pig Park by M.J. Minor, Curly the pig loves going to the pig park with his boy much as a dog enjoys going to a dog park. Curly encourages children to consider how we view different animal species and the importance of being a friend to all.
Not a Purse by Stephanie Dreyer reminds us that animals are not only exploited for their flesh but are also used in our clothing, things we use around the house, and more. This book educates children about the origin of products we may take for granted and encourages them to explore compassionate alternatives.
In We All Love: A Book for Compassionate Little Vegans and Vegetarians by Julie Hausen, we are reminded that animals have feelings just like us and deserve to be happy and healthy just like we do. This book explores the similarities we share with animals and encourages children to treat the animals like they would like to be treated.
Happy Animals: Friends Not Food by Liora Raphael and Glenn Saks introduces children to the reasons behind choosing a vegan lifestyle. Society teaches children to see all animals as feeling sentient beings while also learning about the connection between animals and our food.
Chickpea, the cow, has spent her entire life on a factory farm, watching her family and friends disappear one by one. When the farmer tries to load Chickpea onto a big, scary truck, she decides to run away into the woods. Chickpea Runs Away by Sarat Colling tells Chickpea’s story as she discovers the world outside the farm and makes new friends. Numerous real-life cases of runaway cows inspire this story.
These books and many more can help young children (and maybe even some adults) better understand the importance of being kind and compassionate to the animals around them. Some teach us that animals are sentient beings who have real feelings just like we do. Others gently introduce children to the darker side of animal farming. All of them encourage compassionate choices and love for all animals.