Cows Cry Too : A Vegan Children’s Book


Photo Credit: Connie Pugh

The idea behind Cows Cry Too was born just over a decade ago. I was a single mom raising my daughter vegan in an overwhelmingly non-vegan world. While I had been vegetarian since I was 12 years old, I was still pretty new at the whole vegan thing. With only one vegan friend who lived clear across the country, a mom who cried because she’d never be able to buy her granddaughter a McDonald’s Happy Meal, and a brother whose motto was, “I love animals; they’re delicious,” it was not always easy.

I tried my best to seek out other like-minded people to show my daughter that other vegans did, in fact, exist. I also tried finding resources to help her understand why I was raising her vegan, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find a children’s book that I really liked to fit this purpose. They all seemed to focus on how it’s okay to be different, or on animals who are also vegan, or how yummy peas and tofu are—none (that I could find) really touched upon the reasons why people chose not to eat meat. So, I decided to write one myself.

The title for Cows Cry Too came to me one night as I was drifting off to sleep. Through subsequent years I slowly wrote a book to fit it and spent countless hours finding and taking photographs to use for the book. Since I first embarked on this journey, there have been several new vegetarian/vegan children’s books released, but mine is unique in that it uses only photographs, is written as a story in a style similar to Dr. Seuss and deals solely with farm animals and factory farms. The 26-page book starts with a gentle glimpse inside factory farms. It won’t give kids nightmares, but it may make them sad and angry, and it will also help kids realize that most farms are not how they are portrayed in children’s books

Here are few excerpts from Cows Cry Too:

[Pages 1-3]
Yes, it’s true,
just like you, cows cry too.
So do chickens, ducks, sheep,
and pigs (just to name a few).

But what, you may wonder,
makes them so sad?
How can life on a farm
really be all that bad?

Well, sadly,
most farms are not farms at all.
They’re huge, giant factories
with stall after stall.

[Pages 11-12]
No one takes the animals
out each day.
They don’t ever get
to go out and play.

But that’s not the worst of it,
believe me, I know.
Most cruelty they endure
Is too hideous to show.

It then shifts and talks about how animals have feelings just like us:

[Pages 13-15]
You see, some people forget
that we’re animals too.
And all animals have feelings
just like we do.

Love, the most basic,
is felt by all,
from the very large…
to the very small.

Courageous and curious
animals need to explore.
Nobody likes
when life’s a bore.

[Page 19]
And they feel fear and pain
just as strong as we do.
Don’t let anyone tell you
that this isn’t true.

Finally, the book culminates with the idea that they, themselves, can help ease farm animals’ pain and suffering by not eating eggs, milk, or meat:

[Page 23-24]
For they can laugh
just as they cry—
it all depends
on you and I!

The choices we make
from day to day
can change their lives
in a big, BIG way.

The best thing to do
is to watch what you eat…
you can help dry their tears
with no eggs, milk, or meat.

It is my hope that this book can both stand on its own as a simple story with a powerful message and provide a jumping off point for further discussion to help vegans, vegetarians, and perhaps even locavores explain their lifestyle choices to their children. For more information and to help me get this book published, please check out, support, and share my Kickstarter campaign.

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A science teacher by trade, Anna now enjoys being a stay-at-home mom to her three children: Phoenix, Cobalt, and Isthmian. Being with her family, spending time outside, traveling, creating/building things, running, reading, organizing, and cleaning are just a few of her favorite things.