Vegan Friendly Kids Books in your local library- make a Veganuary display + videos and activities
Updated: Feb 5
What are these books about?
Here is a list of popular books which are accidentally vegan friendly, and should be easy to find at your local library. You could search the shelves, talk to staff, or make a reservation with the online catalogue. The books can be used to promote kindness toward animals; as well as to start discussions about being a good friend, and nonviolence more generally.
The meat eating characters in the books are usually male. This could be seen to reflect the way masculinity has been equated with meat eating by our culture and violence is sometimes presented as fun to boys. These picture books help to challenge toxic masculinity. They demonstrate that boys can decide who they want to be, and how they want to behave. You can find older children's books at the end of the list.
Make a Veganuary January display at your library (or November World Vegan Month)
Some libraries have displays of grown up books about veganism for Veganuary. You can also use this list of books to make a display in the children's section of the library. Veganuary have ready made shelf banners and logos to help decorate your display. This display in Finsbury library, Islington is called 'We Love Animals' and has a nice animal picture. If you make a display, send a picture to @livingwwarmth, and I'll share it.
Veganuary January at school (or November World Vegan Month)
Some vegan children experience bullying, and raising awareness of veganism could help. It could also help toward the Eco Schools Healthy Living theme, or RSPCA Animal Friendly Schools. Read more about vegan school meals. You can order a free vegan inclusivity pack, buy book or download, and soon take vegan inclusivity CPD training.
Videos, learning resources, teaching materials, lesson plans
Where there the books have associated activity or worksheets, I have linked to these too. There are many more vegan printables on the activity page.
If you can't find the books, then you can watch the videos embedded in this blog. The Vegan Family Guide Youtube channel has playlists of gentle children's books, and vegan friendly children's book videos, children's vegan documentaries (and also music and tv programmes).
Deliberately vegan books at the library
Vegan Family Guide also has a page dedicated to vegan children's books. The Islington library catalogue contains these deliberately vegan books too: Cooking with Kids by Sue Kirly, Vegan Family Cookbook by Omari McQueen, Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen (ebook), and many books by the vegan Banjamin Zephania, such as Talking Turkeys, Funky Chickens, Nature Trail, and Kung Fu Trip.
If you would like to add more vegan books to your library, consider: Animal Rescue, Sprig the Rescue Pig, The True Adventures of Esther the Wonderpig, Baby Loves Vegan (also ebook), Nelson's Dangerous Dive, or Help Yourself Cookbook (ebook). You could also add this free download book I Live in a Hut by Yorit Rozin.
T Veg: The Story of a Carrot Crunching Dinosaur by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Katherina Manolessou for ages 2 to 7+.
Written by an award winning author, and BookTrust writer in residence; T Veg. bounces along with rhythm, rhyme, and joyful colour. My child learnt it off by heart. Reginald's love of vegetarian food is not accepted by his multicoloured peers, so he runs away... only to return and save the day. He is welcomed back by the other dinosaurs, who realised they missed him. They hold a party to celebrate vegetables and being yourself. A story of hope for many of us who have been criticised for our diets... except that can't all able to lift big boulders to change people's minds.
I reserved this book at the library, and we read it several times today. It is timely, as my child is beginning to recognise that other people might have things to say about their diet.
Activity sheets: Cut out dinosaurs and plate to draw food on.
I Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon and Silvia Viviane Schwarz for ages 2 to 8
An award winning book of depth and beauty; to which my child originally didn't react. Later they started to ask for it more and more, comment thoughtfully on the plot, and make the sound of intestines (it's in the book, and has led to many digestive system discussions). The finger print finches lead predictable lives, until Henry realises he doesn't have to. Unfortunately, he is immediately swallowed by 'The Beast'. Henry listens kindly to The Beast's reasons, telepathically encourages them to adopt a plant based diet, and be spat out. His example empowers other finches to explore their dreams.
How to be a Lion by Ed Vere for ages 3 to 7
Leonard is one of my favourite characters. Unsurprisingly, he was created by an award winning author, who is also artist in residence at the Born Free Foundation. Leonard is a lion, and model gentle man, who was created to counter toxic masculinity. With Marianne the duck by his side, Leonard writes poetry and appreciates the moment. However, other lions suggest Leonard should 'chomp' Marianne. Together they remain strong, contemplate, and respond through verse on the theme of mutual respect and tolerance. The language and images have heartfelt poise, but also a sense of humour.
The Trouble with Dragons by Debi Gliori for ages 4+
The award winning author suggests readers 'put less of the world on your fork', and 'respect all creatures', which could be interpreted as meat reduction. The rhyme opens with the obvious population argument for global ecosystem collapse, moving onto the more accurate issue of affluence. The dragons change their ways.
Teaching materials: Discussion suggestions
Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts for ages 5 to 8
From the author of legendary Gruffalo, this is another tale of brains over brawn, with her trademark rhyme and musicality. Drip is accidentally born into a family of carnivores, who do not accept his herbivore ways. He stays true to himself, until his 'vibe attracts his tribe' (as a sign in Thenga Cafe reads). There was also: an activity book, teachers guide, and early reader version.
Beast Feast by Emma Yarlett for ages 5+
Unusually for this list, the protagonist is person is female. However, as in all the other books the meat eater is male.
... Anyway, while reading the book, you can open the invitations and replies to Beast's diverse Feast. One day, Beast captured 'Dinner' and held the child captive until their friends could arrive for the feast. However, as time passed, the child captures the Beast's heart, and they serve other (not necessarily plant based) food instead. He comes to recognise the character behind the 'absent referent'.
Puzzle sheet: Wordsearch
Published by Walker Books. Available at Foyles.
The Church Mouse series- Graham Oakley for ages 2 to 6
The cat befriends the mice instead of eating them. However, they still consume other animal products from friends they haven't met yet. Interesting pictures and turn of phrase.
Jane Goodall books- There are a wide range of these!
Learn about the life and findings of the exemplary woman conservation scientist, but probably not about her veganism.
Max and Bird by Ed Vere for ages 3 to 5+
In this installment of the bestselling Max series, this hapless comic cat decides not to eat Bird, after revising his definition of friendship.
Beyond the Fence by Maria Gulemetova for ages 6 to 9
CLPE Greenway Award nominated. Piggy is detained by the human Thomas in his house. Thomas is quite bossy, and always decides which game they will play. Things change when Piggy meets Wild Pig, and discovers a new way of life. My child liked this.
Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen for ages 4 to 6
This is a funny book, in which a girl uses items stored in her hair to outwit a scary monster, and save her rabbit friends. It was one of the Observer's best books of the year.
Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss for ages 3 to 11
We discovered this book on the 'We Love Animals' display stand at Finsbury library. The book is long, but my three year old was engaged all the way through. The story is written as a poem. Horton the elephant befriends some characters who live on a speck of dust, and has to defend their town from being destroyed. There is a happy ending. There seem to be two films of the book too.
Junior age books- 7 to 11
Secondary School/ Teen/ Young Adult
Hive epub, Borrowbox eBook
Vegan Family Guide also has a map of libraries in London.