“Dave Loves Chickens”, by Carlos Patiño, will help parents to talk to their children about love for animals
My life was always surrounded by words and illustrations. My mother’s family is full of artists and writers. I learnt to read by myself and my parents still have my first composing from pre-school. It taught me to like writing so it wasn’t a surprise when I decided to study journalism and create my own website and write my first book. Reading was always where I would look for information. It taught me to want to know always more about everything, it taught me to question the world. Reading brought me to a vegan lifestyle, through fanzines.
In almost seventeen years as a vegan there are still books about food, how we relate to food, vegetarianism and veganism that I want to read. But today I am talking about one specific type of book: vegan books for children. I have written an article about the topic for the biggest vegetarian magazine in Brazil and had the chance to interview Ruby Roth about her books “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals” and “Vegan is Love”. How great it is that our generation, which is raising kids vegan from birth, have beautiful and well written books to read to our kids?
As a vegan mother, I’m always looking for more books to buy for our little one and that’s how I’ve got my copy of “Dave Loves Chickens”, by Carlos Patiño. Vegan Publishers sent me the PDF first for review purposes and I fell in love with that out of this planet creature. I had to have the hard copy to read to my son. I’ve bought one for him and another one as a birthday present. If you are my friend and have children, be ready, I’ll be giving this book to you all.
What’s the deal with “Dave Loves Chickens”? It’s beautiful, simple, colorful, innovative book. It’s great for kids of all ages. Monsters are part of kids’ imagination and Dave is sweet and, as all kids, he loves animals. What’s the difference between them and many kids? He loves the animals so much that he won’t eat them. And he doesn’t understand why people on Earth do it. With not too many words and great drawings, Patiño takes a very important subject to children’s universe. Our son is too young to understand now that Dave doesn’t eat chickens or other animals but he relates to a monster who loves animals. When he’ll capable to understand the story, the words written by Patiño will help us to explain to him why we don’t eat animals in this house. Every page of “Dave Loves Chickens” bring a topic of conversation with older children, so the book is also very indicated to them. Kids are smart and they want to know more, to understand things and actions and Patiño’s book gives parents a great start of conversation. About veganism and other topics such, love, respect, freedom.
“Dave Loves Chickens” is a great book for all children out there. And if you think I couldn’t be more excited about it, you’re wrong. I’ve interviewed Carlos Patiño last week and found out we have the same background: we are both from South America, we’ve got to know more about veganism and animal rights through hardcore and punk rock and we are both straight edge. Check out the interview to get to know more about the creator of Dave:
Before talking about “Dave Loves Chickens” we would like to know more about you. You were born in Colombia and grew up in Bogota, right? I have been in Colombia a few years ago for a few days and was very impressed with many aspects of the country, specially cultural and urban. How was being raised there and how your roots make you relate to London, the city you’re living now?
I was actually born in Bucaramanga, Colombia but grew up in Bogota, Colombia. Bogota is an awesome city and growing up there was amazing. I grew up involved in skateboarding and hardcore/punk. Growing up the hardcore/punk scene was new and we were starting something incredible and new (to us at least). I wouldn’t be where I am or the person I am now if it wouldn’t of been for hardcore/punk. With it I got involved in a clean living as well as a sense of community, politics, and awareness of what is happening with animal cruelty.
London really reminds me of Bogota in a few ways, tons of brick buildings and a good punk scene. I love London but sadly I am leaving this great city. I will be migrating to the great city of Melbourne. I don’t really mind living here and there as long as it has a good punk and art scene. And although I did grow up in Bogota I have lived in Fort Lauderdale – USA, Wellington – New Zealand, London – UK, and now Melbourne – Australia. – Not sure if that answered the question but that’s a small intro to my life then, now, and future me.
When did you start drawing and why? What are your biggest inspirations for drawing?
I have been drawing my whole life, I know it sounds cliché, but I never thought I would do it as a “career”. I always doodled on my school books and I even thought of becoming a computer engineer one day but that obviously didn’t happen. When I went into my industrial design degree, which I graduated from, I started getting into painting a bit more until I finished university and started liking my own drawings. I never really liked what I drew but I kept on drawing anyway to kill time.
Once I moved to New Zealand I started getting a bit more productive and getting involved in small exhibitions and then I realized that my style was more kids driven so I started emailing hundreds of publishers until one replied and I felt I could try and pursuit a career, or at least something more than just a hobby, in children’s illustrations.
I think the main inspiration would have to be skateboard graphics and probably one of the reasons why I have done a few board graphics myself. And the inspirations come from anything that affects me in my personal life, so punk, veganism, straight edge, skateboarding, Brazilian jiujitsu, tattoos, etc…
When did you become vegan? I’ve read you’ve became vegetarian in Colombia in 1997, right? What inspired you to go vegan?
I haven’t been vegan for that long, actually just over 9 months or so but before that I was a vegetarian since 97’. Took me a wile to convert but I am happy to be vegan now.
I think me going vegan and vegetarian has always been in relation to animal rights. In Colombia we still have bull fights and when I was younger I was involved in anti-bull fighting campaigns and protests. The idea of killing an animal for fun has always infuriate me and growing with punk/hardcore there were a lot of bands talking about animal rights so this all made me be a bit more conscious of how animals are still being mistreated. I think I became vegan as an evolution from going veggie onto veganism.
I’ve became vegan in Brazil in 1997 and it wasn’t that easy to change the habits. Not because I wasn’t sure about my decision but I found Brazil not educated at all about veganism and it was really hard to find vegan products, from food to shoes. How was to become a vegan (or vegetarian) in Colombia?
Its funny that you say that it was hard in Brazil because Brazil is probably one of the most “advanced” south American countries when it comes to veganism, at least that’s what I hear. Brazilian bands where singing about animal liberation and veganism before anyone in Colombia and they had a festival called “Verdurada” (or something like that) that has music and vegan food only. I personally haven’t been to Brazil but a lot of my friends that have played in the festival and traveled to Brazil have said that about it.
I didn’t become vegan in Colombia but I can tell you how it was to become vegetarian in 1997. It sucked! But I still felt like I was doing what was right and what I felt was the best choice. A lot of vegetarians/vegans used to eat this horrible thing called Carve which it’s a kind of fake meat but it tasted horrible so I stuck to my beans, chickpeas, and lentils. I think now its way easier because there are a lot of health shops that sell vegan/veggie friendly food.
I’ve seen in your Facebook page a drawing of you wearing a Minor Threat tshirt, so I’m assuming you have a punk/hardcore background, right? In the 1990s vegetarianism and veganism would walk together with those scenes in many countries. Do you think they are still related today?
I think by now, assuming you have read the interview, you will notice that yes, I have a background in punk/hardcore.
In the punk/hardcore scene there’s always going to be bands that talk about animal rights and politics, which its great! A lot of kids get into punk at a young age and I think reading lyrics related to animal cruelty and being aware of our society helps them focus a bit more in society as a whole. Way better than listening to lyrics that talk about money and consumerism.
Also the fact that bands are still talking about veganism and vegetarianism in their songs is great. Obviously not every band will talk about this, a lot talk about politics, anarchism (which is not just burning cars and destroying McDonald’s), anti-capitalism, and I think its great. I don’t expect every person that listens to this kind of music to be a “rebel” or anything like it but at least it plants a seed in their brain so when they grow up they hopefully just don’t follow the flock and pursuit what they like.
Okay, enough of you, let’s talk about your book! Why drawing about veganism?
I think its something great to talk about. Kids are smart and if they can have fun and learn then that’s great! There aren’t that many people talking about veganism and it’s a tight community, I compare it to punk. I like to hear my friend saying if I have been to this and that vegan restaurant and going and being mind blown by the food. I would love to hear vegan parents talking about my book in that same way.
I also try to write so its not a “preachy” book about veganism and about how animals are being killed and slaughtered and all of that horror that kids don’t need to know, not just yet, and make it more fun. A fun vegan book! Vegans need more children’s vegan books, that’s why I draw about veganism.
What’s the best and worst about drawing and creating a story for children?
The worst has to be actually having the inspiration to start writing. Writing to me doesn’t come as natural as drawing but once I get on a roll then that turns to good. Also trying to match up the characters in your head to what you wrote is complicated.
The best is the same one every time which is actually seen the book in your hands. That sense of achieving something is probably one of the best feelings ever. Also seeing people enjoying your book and getting great feedback is always amazing.
How “Dave” was born?
The character of Dave I wanted to make it a fun character and someone that would be neutral so I thought a monster would be neutral enough. I think having a human as the main character would not make the book as approachable as what I was envisioning. I also like that kids can relate to monsters or find them interesting enough to remember them and I wanted the character, Dave, to be remembered.
But I didn’t come up with the name Dave until I started writing the book and the first thing I wrote was “He comes from a planet far far away, He doesn’t have a name… we call him Dave”. Dave was the name that at the moment popped into my head that would rhyme with that sentence.
In your interview at Vegan Publisher’s website, you’ve said you turn Dave into a series of books: “For example Dave Loves Cows, Dave Loves Whales, Dave Loves Pigs, etc…” Why chickens first?
Yes, from the start I did a mind map of what were the options and how could I make a book that could be easily be turned into a series of books. And I felt that chickens had to be the first one because the thought of caged chickens makes me sick. Chickens are such awesome little animals and to think of them as a caged animal that probably never even walked in the short life-spam they had is horrible. So I thought that would probably be the best way to start.
It was between chickens and cows because they are the most common “meat”. Chickens won!
How do you think kids will relate to Dave Loves Chickens? And what do you expect from the book in terms of feedback?
Kids will relate because it’s a friendly monster. Kids like colors and I made sure to use a crazy amount of color to draw kids into the story and the illustrations. If they show interest then they will learn or at least it will be engraved in the back of their minds that animals are not for us to eat.
Feedback I only expect positive! When I say positive I don’t mean from the parents or likes on Facebook but instead I want kids to be able to choose if they think eating animals is the right choice. I want to create smart people that won’t just be spectators. This is all hints for when they grow up and this is why these “hints” have to be fun and for them to learn. There is no point of showing a kid a gruesome environment where the chickens are being held, it has to be fun. I will expect feedback in 20 or so years when I see teenagers say that their first vegan book was Dave Loves Chickens and that they are still vegan.
What can we expect from Carlos Patiño in the future?
I am working alongside Vegan Publishers on another children’s book. So expect more vegan books coming your way!
I am also working on a book, but this is TOP SECRET! All I can say is that its vegan/vegetarian themed. This one I am doing more realistic illustrations rather than children’s illustrations.
Finally, I’m sure many people aspire to publish books – including myself, I’ve been working on my first book for a few years now. Which advice would you give to people like us who find hard to get published or to keep investing on this dream?
I think it’s important to know the target audience. I found vegan books because there’s not that much competition, that’s a huge advantage for me, but always try to make your book outstanding in comparison to the rest or make sure it stands out.
And anything you do make sure you put a lot of passion and a lot of YOU into it but don’t be disappointed if people don’t understand it or you can’t get published. There are a lot of tools out there now that you can do anything yourself which is what I did with Dave Loves Chickens and I started as a crowd sourcing project and ended up working with a publisher, and a great vegan publisher!
So always focus and keep on trying because you have nothing to loose, just learn from the experience.