________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 2 . . . . September 20, 2002

cover I'm A Vegetarian: Amazing Facts and Ideas for Healthy Vegetarians.

Ellen Schwartz. Illustrated by Farida Zaman.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2002.
112 pp., pbk., $14.99.
ISBN 0-88776-588-2.

Subject Heading:
Vegetarianism-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-10 / Ages 9-15.

Review by Sheila Alexander.

***1/2 /4



When you decided to become a vegetarian, one of your main reasons - perhaps your main reason - may have been to be healthier. And it's true that eating a vegetarian diet can make you feel great.

But simply going meat-free is no guarantee of health. To stay healthy, you've got to eat smart. Just as with any style of eating, a poorly balanced vegetarian diet can lead to health problems - some of them serious.

Soon we'll get down to the nuts and bolts - or is that nuts and beets ? - of planning a healthy vegetarian diet that meets your nutritional needs. But first, let's go over some basic principles of healthy eating, and alert you to danger signs to watch out for.

This appealing book is designed to provide information and support for young people who have decided to become vegetarian. While the author encourages non-judgmental acceptance of a range in degree and type of vegetarianism, and of friends and family who choose to eat meat, the unambiguously pro-vegetarianism stance and the related arguments are likely to convince some ambivalent readers of the value of this choice.

     The content of this book is informative, intriguing, and varied, covering a wide range of facts and issues which are well-suited to the developmental stage and concerns of young adolescents. The author appears to speak with knowledge and authority, noting in a general list her sources of information. Brief discussions and presentation of information include: definitions and classification of types of vegetarianism, diverse reasons for this choice of diet, myths and misconceptions, history of vegetarianism, basics of nutrition and health-related issues, key vegetarian foods, and menu-planning. An entertaining section, relevant to adolescents' concerns, addresses how to deal with "sticky situations," such as the traditional family Thanksgiving turkey dinner, parental disapproval, peer reaction, and restaurant menus. A short collection of recipes provides a jumping-off point for cooks, usefully illustrating the potential for varied and healthy meals. However, some recipes may be too complex for many readers, and committed vegetarians will need an additional cookbook. The text concludes with five pages listing additional sources of information, including organizations, websites, books, magazines, and cookbooks. A two-page glossary provides a quick but limited reference.

     This book is written in an easy-to-read, conversational style which meets the needs of a wide span in ages, interests, and abilities. The use of many subtitles and varied formats encourages cover-to-cover reading, as well as browsing and subsequent review. Expository paragraphs are interspersed with bullets, lists, sidebars, questions-and-answers, short activities, and simulated conversations. Black and white illustrations, either solely decorative or content-related, add visual appeal but little additional information. As well as being very appealing for personal interest, particularly for those adolescents who have already adopted vegetarianism and would appreciate additional support, this book would be a useful resource in a school library and as supplemental material for a health curriculum.

Highly Recommended.

Sheila Alexander is a recent Middle Years B.Ed. graduate of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364