August 2, 2011 (5:44 pm)

Making Kamea’s Story Book Vegan-Friendly

by Kristen Suzanne

Kamea is crazy in love with books, which melts my heart. One of the passions both Greg and I share is the love of reading, and we look forward to the time when we can have family outings to Starbucks where we take our books and read.

We love reading to Kamea and she requests it every day, multiple times. Now that she knows the sign “more” in sign language, we see it over and over and over and over and … well, you get the point. Once the story ends, she wants more. Yay!

We’re building her library of books and I buy most of them on Amazon if they’re not hand-me-downs from friends and relatives. However, when you’re not buying from a bookstore where you can flip through it, you don’t always know everything it’ll contain. Recently, I bought the book “Yummy YUCKY” by Leslie Patricelli. It’s such a cute board book with the pictures, colors, and font. The story basically shows one side of the page with something yummy on it, like spaghetti. Then, on the next page it shows something similar, but yucky… like worms. It makes it really fun to read to Kamea as I exclaim out loud the pages that are YUCKY! I make an “eh eh” sound and she imitates me. 

The problem is that there are some foods shown in the book that are illustrated as yummy but that we would clearly not feed her as vegan parents. So, what did we do? We edited the book to suit our needs. (Kudos to Greg’s talented hand in making the words actually look like the other words’ font.)

Here are three examples of some of the changes we made!

This page used to read: “Burgers are yummy.” So, we changed it to “Boca Burgers are yummy.”

This page used to read: “Eggs are yummy.” So, we changed it to “Tofu eggs are yummy.”

This page used to read: “Fish sticks are yummy.” So, we changed it to “Faux Fish sticks are yummy.”

I read in a parenting book that if you find a children’s book that you just don’t agree with, then simply stop reading it. In our case, the book was so darn cute, that we just changed it. ;)

What is Kamea’s favorite book? As in… which book could she hear over and over and over and over? “Doggies” by Sandra Boynton. I love that her favorite book has to do with dogs which is so near and dear to my heart. She’s going to be a big animal lover, I can tell.

In fact, we’re teaching Kamea Spanish right now (I’ll blog more on this later) so I bought the Spanish version, “Perritos” as well. Guess what? She wants to hear it over and over and over and over… you get the point. ;) You can see from the picture below that they’re getting a bit worn – haha.

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  • Lauren519

    I love it! I do the same thing, but I never thought to write in the book! Great idea! I also change the words in songs, instead of the piggies having “roast beef” they have green smoothies or kale! Lol

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I love writing it to show her new words, too :)

  • Shamima

    Love reading to my 8 month old especially when he snuggles with me. There are other days that all he wants to do is eat the book:)!!

  • Jessica Wood

    hahahaha, I love that you said this as I was doing singing this to my son the other day (5 months) and I said tofu or vegan field roast. :)  

  • Anonymous

    This is great! Never thought to write in the book.  I have been wondering what to think of all the non-vegan play food in our house…keep or toss?, but I love your approach of using alternative names.  

  • Deb

    LoVe it!! So clever and creative :)

  • Ruby Baweja

    When did you introduce salt to Kamea?

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I haven’t done it directly, but she’s had some when it’s in a recipe. I’m not a fan of salt in her diet right now so it’s extremely limited.

  • Elizabeth

    you are too funny, you are exactly like me, I have been know to tape sections of books together that have content that I disagree with, primarily science books that go against the faith.
    You HAVE to teach her at home, you won’t believe the crap that you’ll run into at schools, and I mean private as well as public, when it comes to books!!!
    Peace & Raw Health,

  • Angee

    That is too cute!  I love that you changed all the words!  I never would have thought of that!  Grace is in love with EVERY Sandra Boynton book.  I don’t have a single one that I don’t like.  :)  Her favorite is Perfect Piggies.  :)  It’s silly and nonsensical in some parts and talks about how awesome Pigs are.  :)  Which I love as a vegan.  :)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I’ll have to check that one out!

  • jenn

    i feel like since i’m not a parent/fully raw, i’m a bit confused. i was surprised to hear you mention desiring starbucks. aaaalso, the fake meats! is that something you’d give her or just something to make the book adaptable?  i don’t mean this in a mean way but i’m thinking of having children so i need any/all advice on how to raise children in an environmentally friendly and healthy way. thanks for your insight!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I wouldn’t give her a Boca burger as a baby but when she’s older sure. It’s not a staple of course but it will make an appearance. We are a high raw family, not all raw. And we are not purists. We keep it organic almost exclusively. Starbucks we don’t actually do unless traveling because I’ll only drink organic decaf when I drink coffee. I loooooove the taste of coffee. ;)

  • Natasha

    We do the same thing with our baby! One of her books about Thanksgiving says, “baby says mmm mmm mmm when she sees the turkey come.” I changed it to “tofu” in place of turkey. We don’t do many fake meats here but I find the word “tofu” much more desirable for her association with a feast meal as opposed to “turkey.” Also we are a 2 mama family of 3 kids (thanks to IVF) so we have to change it up in books that say “daddy” or “papa” since clearly there is no daddy in this house.

    We teach ASL also and Eliot can sign “more,” “all done, ” etc but are now trying to focus more on language development. 

    We have the Sandra Boynton book called “Oops” and love it!

    And the reading at Starbucks… you are SO right! I take my 10 year old and 8 year old for mommy and me dates to Starbucks and they love to sit by my side reading and sipping green tea lattes made with soy! I look forward to my baby joining us one day too but for now she has never been in a Starbucks.

    Books, books, books…and also musicals! We check out the soundtracks for various musicals at our library. Bring them home for 3 weeks at a time and listen while playing…Andrew Lloyd Weber, etc.

    I enjoy all your posts about Kamea!

  • Natasha

    Oh and when my son taught my baby “this little piggy” with her toes it went like this:
    “This little piggy went to Whole Foods.
    This little piggy stayed home.
    This little piggy had tofu.
    This little piggy had none.
    And this little piggy cried, ‘I’m a vegetarian, I’m a vegetarian,’ all the way home!”


  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thank you! Loved your comment. I’ll try the musicals idea… Sounds great. :)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Lol awesome!

  • Marissa

    I ran across this book in a store here in Toronto. As a vegan-parent-to-be (someday!) I thought it was so perfect! The link here shows its at Barnes & Noble so probably amazon too I assume. Also as a vegan nanny for a non-vegan family (but I only make vegan/raw foods while working) I change the words in books and songs too. I hate when she (my 3 yr old charge) wants to read ”farm” books that we know do not really represent what the farming world is like. I tend to avoid those books for now until I come up with something better. I’m finding it a bit tricky since she always asks where different foods come from. Its about being honest but also not saying things her parents might disagree about. Basically I just stick with “fruits and veggies are the best thing to eat” and hope that sticks as she gets older.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Good for you! :)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Just checked the book… not cheap on amazon! It looks great though, so I’ll get it. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • K&M

    Teaching her Spanish? I speak Spanish to my DD (about the same age as Kamea). We are also signing with her. She signs “airplane”, “toilet”, “bird”, and “train”… Only one is really useful *hehe* Oddly, I say the words in Spanish, but her first words are all English until recently she said “aro” [pajaro] while signing “bird”. I constantly said “avion” for “airplane” and to my surprise, when she signed it, she said it in English. Doesn’t help when DH doesn’t speak Spanish. :)

  • K&M

    We say:
    “This little piggy when to the natural market…
    This little piggy stayed home.
    This little piggy had vegan roast beef.
    This little piggy fasted….”
    I’m going to have to modify mine to add some of yours. :)

  • elainie

    Same here! And I did the same with my 2 week old the other day. LOL.

  • Green Beauty Girl

    I never thought to make everyday books ” vegan friendly” by changing the words.  That would help to reinforce letter recognition by spelling the words and inserting them into the book.  It gives me a great ideas! Thanks.

  • Suzi Carlsson

    We say “roast beets”!

  • Nina

    crap, like science?  i dont understand this whole thing.  maybe its because i’m more open minded, but i feel like sheltering children this way is setting them up for confusion in the future.  i dont mean to sound snarky, but this is shocking, and frankly a bit sad.  

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I see no problem changing our book about food to suit our needs and the fact that we don’t eat animals.

  • laura gallagher

    We did the same thing with some of our books. :)