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Controversial new children's book touts veganism

Some critics say book is too 'scary' for kids

A new book written for children has stirred the pot with its blunt pro-vegan and political messages. The book, Vegan is Love, has critics speaking out on both sides.

Author Ruby Roth says kids need to hear the real story about what's in our food.

What's in my hamburger, Mom?

Children's author and illustrator Ruby Roth doesn't leave anything to the imagination in her new book. Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action, released this week, discusses testing on animals, farming practices, and the materials that make up your clothing. Roth argues that children are not too young to hear the truth, and if parents don't teach them, the marketing campaigns of large corporations will.

"We don’t give children enough credit for their insight and ability to handle reality and make decisions," Roth said.

The book's pages are filled with cartoon images of angelic children from all ethnic backgrounds. They are gardening together and side-by-side with animals under a bright blue sky.

Another image shows several goose down and leather coats hanging on a clothes line with an assortment of animals standing next to it.

"We love to dress in spots and stripes because we look like animals," the page reads. "Fur, feathers and scales are beautiful too, but only on the animals that wear them. Today, we can put on natural and man-made materials instead of animal parts."

Is this too scary for kids?

Critics on both sides of the aisle are debating if this message will be too traumatizing for children.

Child psychologist Jennifer Hart Steen told Today's Matt Lauer that the book conveys the pro-vegan message through fear.

"If you would just give it to a child as a children's book they don't understand it," Steen said. "So now they're just going to be afraid."

But others argue kids aren't too young for this book.

"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 Research Center, told ABC News. “Kids are more malleable and impressionable. Maybe childhood is the best time to create awareness and change behavior accordingly."

The vegan diet for babies and small children

Alicia Silverstone and her infant son, Bear Blu, have brought the vegan diet to the doorstep of the mainstream. Experts generally agree a vegan diet for children can accomplish all of a youngster's nutritional needs, if certain shortfalls are addressed. If these potential gaps in a young child's diet are not addressed and compensated for, such as protein and vitamin B12 deficiency, a vegan diet could be potentially harmful. For parents thinking about converting to the vegan lifestyle, Roth advises making the process "about adding new foods and recipes in, instead of taking food away."

Tell Us

Do you think this book is okay for kids? Or will it create unnecessary fear? Would you read it to your kids?

Read more children and food

Is it safe for my baby to be vegetarian?
Is red meat safe for children?
How eating organic improves your child's health

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