Ever wonder how to eat a rainbow? Learn about Vegan Publishers’ new author/illustrator team and their beautiful book that teaches children how to eat a variety of colors. “How to Eat a Rainbow: Magical Raw Vegan Recipes for Kids” will only be printed if the goal for their indiegogo campaign is a success, so order your copy now and help them reach their goal!
VP: Tell us a bit about your background and about How to Eat a Rainbow came to be?
ELLIE: How to Eat a Rainbow was created to fill in a gap in the cookbook market. When I was searching for recipe books for my two little girls, I found it impossible to find one without cupcakes and cookies full of sugar and it was pretty difficult to find plant-based recipes too! I had an idea to give parents and their children the option to choose something that encourages healthy eating, specifically snacks, desserts and drinks, to replace the foods from which children get the most sugar in their diet. We also decided to make it raw, as we could all use a little more fresh food in our lives and these recipes make it an easy way to include them.
SABRINA: Ellie passed along the idea to me, her little sister-in-law, with the idea to make it themed about fairies, and I jumped at the chance. We wanted this book to be beautiful and appealing to children, diverse and open so that every page is an adventure. With Ellie’s fun recipe ideas it’s been a wonderful challenge to translate them into a fairy world.
VP: Is this your first collaboration together? Did you ever think you’d be doing a book?
BOTH: Even though we are separated by a huge ocean, we are lucky that we are very close and it comes naturally for us to want to do projects together. We’ve done one other book together (not yet published) and have many ideas for more books. Ellie’s knowledge about children and her unending creativity, along with Sabrina’s illustrative and artistic skills make for a great combination to do more collaborations. We’re really excited to get to share our work with others.
VP: What would you hope to accomplish with this book?
SABRINA: I hope that people of all ages and all diets find this book a way to learn about how amazing fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are and how fun and delicious they can be (especially without refined sugars!). I hope we can be the primary alternative to all the other children’s cookbooks out there, until healthy is no longer the alternative.
ELLIE: I totally agree with Sabrina! I hope we can spread the message that healthy food IS tasty, and regardless of people’s individual diets, we hope we can encourage people to include more plant-based, refined sugar-free foods into their lives. We want to make healthy food cool!
VP: The illustrations for the book are beautiful. What can you tell us about them?
SABRINA: I began working on them while still finishing my undergrad at Stanford University. I chose watercolor, one of my favorite media, and began to play with fairy scenes and characters. I realized quickly that I wanted this book to be accessible visually to anyone who picks it up, and tried to emphasize diversity and uniqueness in each fairy and magical creature. I wanted to create a world children can dive into while they unpack the ingredients and make their own work of art. These fairies are hard at work (though some are a bit lazy) and are meant to feel like part of the team, chopping down towering stalks of celery, plucking grapes, and enchanting the seeds!
ELLIE: I had the idea to make a fairy-themed magical book as I wanted this to be a book that children would want to own. The theme is how to eat like a fairy, making that magical world a part of the child’s own life. I knew I didn’t want this to be a regular recipe book, but more like an illustrated picture book. Sabrina totally made this into more than I could have imagined, she is incredibly talented and this book would never have worked without her.
VP: What do you tell people who say that a vegan diet is unhealthy for children?
ELLIE: A vegan diet has many benefits, they tend to be higher in fiber and vegan children tend to eat more fruits and vegetables which is great! If done under proper guidance and with good planning (to be sure you are covering the omega 3, B12 and calcium areas) a wholefoods vegan diet is a wonderful thing. We want to emphasise the wholefoods part of course as a vegan diet reliant on processed foods loses these natural benefits!
VP: Who has inspired you?
ELLIE: For some of my early childhood years my parents ran a pub so I spent a huge amount of time hanging out in the kitchen watching my Dad, a chef, cook. My mum is also an amazing cook and always introduced me to tons of interesting flavours and she always encouraged my brother and me to cook. Later in life I took my love of cooking and blended it with my passion for healthy eating and it led me on the amazing path I’m on now. Right now one of my biggest inspirations is Alicia Silverstone for her tasty vegan recipes; she really is amazing and a total inspiration.
SABRINA: There have been so many people who have inspired me, but my family has been the greatest inspiration artistically. I’ve loved drawing since the moment I was capable of using a crayon. I was five when I made my first book, and fell in love with illustration. I was lucky enough to have parents who had no problem with their daughter putting her heart and soul into a career path that was a bit of a gamble financially. They also pursued their artistic passions and taught me the importance of the arts, and, like my brothers, were there to keep me going when I doubted myself. Edie Wells, my high school art teacher, was an inspiring mentor and artist, and helped me define what art means to me. She showed me how art can do anything, from changing the heart of one person to creating a world-wide revolution.
VP: What is your favorite book?
SABRINA: I have so many favorite books, I can never truthfully answer this question! But I can say one of my favorite authors is Madeline l’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I love her ability to convey characters over time and incorporate so many difficult themes. It’s also rare to find books I was able to love as a child and revisit as an adult and gain even more from them. I’m also a huge fan of Romantic Poets like Keats, and other authors from Borges to Calvino to Swift!
ELLIE: Oh that’s hard. I read a lot. I’m a sucker for Agatha Christie novels (especially Poirot) and have often got a good detective book on the go, right now I’ve just started The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Of course I am always leafing through recipe books too, I have way too many and it’s become a bit of an obsession. The ones that I go back to frequently are The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten Free Vegan Cooking, Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet and Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook.