This month we review a children's book about girl who realizes that what she eats affects others.
The Girl Who Could See Stories
By Gill Torres
Illustrated by Ilan Sheady
Real Magic Publishing, 2014
Sofiel is a remarkable child who can see the stories behind everything she encounters. She is the creation of author Gill Torres and artist Ilan Sheady who combined their talents to produce The Girl Who Could See Stories.
The book is also remarkable, coming into being because 55 people were willing to contribute 4,149 British pounds in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign in one month during 2014. Opening the book, the reader will find the names of all who provided money to the project.
Sofiel has unusual powers. She can look at a taxi, for example, and know the stories of people who have ridden in the vehicle. Watching people, she knows stories about their histories.
The most difficult story for her to see is the tale of the "beefburger" she orders at a fast-food restaurant. She realizes the beefburger's story is so filled with sadness she can no longer eat it or other animal foods whose sad stories she sees. She wonders what she can eat.
Standing in the produce section of a market, she recognizes fruits and vegetables do not have a sorrowful history in their past. They are grown with love and have never known fear or separation from their families. After eating fruits and vegetables, she realizes something very special happens to her.
The book, printed using vegetable ink, ends with illustrated pages giving directions on "HOW TO SPROUT HAPPY BEANS."
Torres and Sheady have created an attractive picture book that conveys the message that people need to know where their food comes from. The underlying story of meat is one of misery. On the other hand, choosing a plant-based diet is beneficial to personal health and the health of the planet. Sheady's attractive cartoon-like illustrations and Torres' text with a powerful message make this an endearing book for young children.
"My aim with The Girl Who Could See Stories is to convey a positive, universal message of health," says Torres. "It's designed to be useful to vegetarians and vegans who want to explain their choices to their children, but it can be valuable whatever your diet. It has taken 12 months to bring the story to life, with the help of a hugely talented illustrator-Ilan Sheady. I now look forward to sharing the story with as many people as possible."