Children’s Books and Parenting from a Vegan Perspective: Abioseh the Vegan Poet on his Unique Book, “I am Not Food,” Addy Rivera Sonda on Illustrating New Book, “Junebug: No Life Too Small,” and Jen Rivera Bell on her Passion for Indigenous Vegan Motherhood

This show broadcasted live on Friday, July 31st, 2020 from Noon to 1pm PST at 100.5fm CFRO, listen to the full extended podcast now!

In this show we hear from Abioseh Cole, “The Vegan Poet,” on the power of language and what led him to writing the children’s book, I am Not Food, a text which explores why animals are people. We also speak to, Addy Rivera Sonda, the illustrator of the new children’s book, Junebug: No Life Too Small on her process of bringing this sweet story to life as well as how she uses her artwork to inspire empathy and social change. Our feature interview is with YouTuber and Indigenous mama, Jen Rivera Bell, on Veganism, parenthood, decolonizing food, and minimalism.

Vegan Poet, Animal Rights Activist, Teacher, and Media Artist Abioseh Cole on His Poetry, Illustrated Children’s Board Book I Am Not Food, and The Importance of Acknowledging An Animal’s Personhood

Abioseh Cole, The Vegan Poet

Abioseh Cole is a poet, animal rights activist, teacher, hip-hop artist, producer, and recording engineer. He started writing in 1989, at the age of 9, and has since found poetry to be his truest form of expression, be it in rap form, spoken word, or prose. While most of his career has been spent honing his talents in hip-hop, he has been focused on spoken word poetry since 2015. He has won numerous poetry slams and taught poetry workshops to students ranging from middle school age to adulthood. You can find his work on Youtube where he speaks to topics of animal use as well as other political and social justice topics.

I Am Not Food is a cute yet powerful, beautifully illustrated children’s board book written poetically by Abioseh Cole and illustrated by Kayleigh Castle from the perspective of various animals who explain why they are not food. It stands apart from other books in that it emphasizes the importance of acknowledging an animal’s personhood.

I Am Not Food started out as a poem for adults which is from the perspective of animals being used for food who are speaking out against the violence against them.

At the end of the show we feature another one of Abioseh’s poems called “Dissonant Cognition”. This one really spoke to a few of us here at Animal Voices and I’m sure many can see themselves (or their past selves) reflected in this idea of separating your mind from the truth so that you can continue to be complicit in the harm you are causing others. This poem and many more on his YouTube channel, Abioseh Joseph Cole

Addy Rivera Sonda, Illustrator of the New Children’s Book, Junebug: No Life Too Small on Her Process Using Artwork to Inspire Empathy and Social Change

Addy Rivera Sonda

Addy Rivera Sonda is a Mexican illustrator who loves colouring, learning and exploring ways in which we could build a kinder and more sustainable world. Her biggest inspiration for drawing is that she knows that stories and art are slowly but surely changing the way people understand themselves and perceive others, building empathy and a more inclusive world. 

Addy is the illustrator for the new children’s book, JuneBug: No Life Too Small, written by Nicole Daniels. 

Junebug is an introduction for kids to see the smallest forms of life as tiny beings who are just trying to live their lives. If we can teach children to respect the tiniest, most vulnerable creatures, this can give them a great start in developing compassion for all living beings. 

With all that’s going on in the world today, we should all be aware that every bug, every tree, every plant, every animal relies on each other, and we should respect that.

In this book, the main character, June, helps her friends recognize that we should not harm those who have as much of a right to be here as we do. She shows her friends that these little insects work hard to build their homes, that they can get hot and tired just like us, and they have important functions in our ecosystem. She helps teach them to appreciate how cool and beautiful these little beings are. 

Jen Rivera Bell

YouTuber and Indigenous Mama Jen Rivera Bell on Veganism, Parenthood, Decolonizing Food, and Minimalism

Jen Rivera Bell is an Indigenous mother of two young children, Luna and Cualli, and she lives with her two dogs, two pigs, and husband, Zac, on Osage territories in so-called Missouri. She is a YouTuber who shares videos on cooking, parenthood, homeschooling, decolonizing food and history, minimalism and loves to connect with other vegan parents and their families on Instagram (@jenriverabell).

Jen’s vlogs are very peaceful and soothing. Watch this recent video where she picks dandelions with Cualli & Luna and fries the dandelions as a snack.

Show produced & hosted by Leah Thompson and Grace Wampold, with web-post help by Asami Hitohara