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>An editorial query

>For an upcoming article, we need to compile a list of children’s and YA authors and illustrators, living or dead, who are/were vegetarians (don’t ask; just subscribe!). Can anyone point me to any such verifiable persons?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Jessica Lee Anderson says:

    >Hi Roger,

    I'm a vegetarian. =)


  2. Megan Frazer says:

    >I don't know of a list, but I know Sarah Ockler (20 Boy Summer) is a YA vegetarian. I used to be a complete vegetarian, but now I'm a pescetarian, like the folks in my debut YA novel (Secrets of Truth & Beauty).

  3. Jo Treggiari says:

    >I'm a children's author and have been a vegetarian for 33 years.
    I have a middle-grade fantasy, The Curious Misadventures of Feltus Ovalton, out and a dystopian YA, Lucky, coming out in 2011.
    Does that help?
    Jo Treggiari

  4. >I eat small amounts of seafood, but most people just count me as vegetarian. I eat absolutely no meat or poultry, or anything that contains even trace amounts.

    Scott Westerfeld and David Levithan are vegetarians. I think Coe Booth is as well. I can ask.

  5. Brendan Halpin says:

    >I, too, am such a person: a YA author who's been a vegetarian for 19 years.

  6. >picture book author/illustrator Anna Alter is a vegetarian, too!

  7. >I was just at Asilomar with Yuyi Morales and she looked decidedly vegetarian at lunch and dinner.

  8. nova ren suma says:

    >Someone just pointed me your way! I'm a tween and YA author and I've been a vegetarian for most of my life. I grew up as one, had a couple meat-eating years as a kid, and then chose on my own to return to being a vegetarian around age 12. Haven't budged since!

    Nova Ren Suma (

  9. Chloe Neill says:

    >Hi, Roger! I'm a YA author and 18-year vegetarian. (As is Lily, the heroine of my first YA novel.)

    Chloe Neill

  10. >I was surprised to see Robin Brande featured in an article of VegNews recently. For a minute I thought I'd picked up the wrong magazine. Anyway, turns out that she's vegan.

  11. Lindsay Matvick says:

    >Hi Roger,
    I know children's picture book author Marsha Wilson Chall ( is a vegetarian.

    Lindsay Matvick

  12. >Jeri Smith-Ready and Jackie Morse Kessler are vegetarian authors with YA books coming out this year.

  13. >Hello Roger,

    I'm a vegetarian. The Horn Book reviewed my latest children's book, But Who Will Bell the Cats? which was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (September, 2009).

    My wonderful editor, Kate O'Sullivan, at Houghton is also a vegetarian.

    I follow your tweets on twitter. I'm @CynthVonBuhler.

    Cheers, Cynthia von Buhler

  14. saraclaradara says:

    >I'm a vegetarian when I travel because I keep a kosher home and will only eat kosher meat. I've thought about going completely vegetarian but after being away for a few weeks I usually get home desperate for steak.
    So I guess that's not going to happen.

  15. >Hi Roger,

    I was born and raised in India and I am a vegetarian from birth. I don't eat any meat, fish, or seafood.
    I write picture books, Middle grade and young adult novels.

    Kashmira Sheth

    Recent publication
    BOYS WITHOUT NAMES (HarperCollins, January, 2010)

  16. Anamaria (bookstogether) says:

    >Crescent Dragonwagon? She even has a vegetarian cookbook (for adults).

  17. Farah Mendlesohn says:

    >Guessing here, but PL Travers? She hung out with vegetarians.

  18. >James Howe.

  19. >Louisa May Alcott

  20. Elizabeth Law says:

    >Christopher Myers is vegetarian. He is in Vietnam right now and not easily reachable for verification, but his editor of many years, Regina Griffin, and I can both vouch for it.

  21. >Donald Johnson (Henry Hikes) is vegetarian.

  22. >Mr. (Fred) Rogers.

  23. >I am also a vegetarian, though occasionally I eat shrimp. So is Uma Khrishnaswami.

    Looking forward to the next major survey.

    Leda Schubert

  24. >I think that Louisa May Alcott wasn't actually vegetarian. Her father was and enforced it, but if I remember right, the rest of the family would eat meat when he wasn't around.

  25. >I'm a vegetarian. Count me in!

  26. >As Jess mentioned, I'm a vegetarian, and my debut YA novel, HUNGER, is coming out this October, under the byline Jackie Morse Kessler.

  27. Uma Krishnaswami says:

    >Leda's right, I'm vegetarian of the lacto-ovo variety. I'm intrigued. Talk to me. What could this possibly have to do with my writing?

    Uma Krishnaswami

  28. Eliza Brown says:

    >D.B. Johnson according to 7-Imp.

  29. Crescent Dragonwagon says:

    >Yes, Roger, I'm a vegetarian, have been so since my early 20's. The book Anamaria mentioned is Passionate Vegetarian… and Alligator Arrived w/ Apples, my Thanksgiving potluck alphabet, is unobtrusively v (Turkey is a guest, not an entree).

    Children's book writer best known for being a vegetarian is undoubtedly Issac Bashevis Singer.

    By the way, Charlotte is now 94. We are putting an addition on our home and she'll be moving up to Vermont, where I now live, this fall.

  30. Yuyi Morales says:

    >Indeed I am vegetarian since I was 19.

  31. Sue Flotow says:

    >I'm a children's book writer and have been vegetarian since age 19, although my mother was surprised it took me that long to work it out! So that's 27 years vegetarian…

  32. >Australian children's illustrator Donna Rawlins is a vegetarian.

  33. >This is an interesting coincedence. I was looking for similar information, as research for a book. I look forward to seeing this article.

    Moira Manion
    (I'm a Commentator about the working poor for public radio's program, "Marketplace," and have a blog, "Everything I Can't Say On Public Radio." I illustrated "The Vineyard Book" by Jack Johnston. I'm attempting to be mostly vegetarian, with lapses.)

  34. melanie hope greenberg says:

    >Was for about 25 years. Now I need the calcium for my bones. Mostly eat the same diet but *really* enjoy a beef burger or steak every so often.

  35. >My sister/illustrator M. Sarah Klise is a vegetarian and I'm a pescetarian–only because I can't resist a good crab cake now and then. Or fried catfish.

  36. Roger Sutton says:

    >At the risk of starting a WAY off topic flame war, how do vegetarians who don't eat animals for moral reasons feel about people who describe themselves in one way or another as semi-vegetarians?

  37. Emily Jenkins says:

    >PS so is Scott Westerfeld.

  38. Emily Jenkins says:

    >I'm a vegetarian.

  39. Barbara Kerley says:

    >Another vegetarian here. (I do, however, enjoy a nice brie.)

    Barbara Kerley

  40. >I've been a vegetarian for more than 25 years. I feel toward "semi-vegetarians" the same way I feel toward those with whom I disagree about religion or politics: I hope they will eventually agree with me, but in the meantime they have a right to their own beliefs.

  41. Wild About Words says:

    >Add my name to the list. Hubby and I have been vegetarians for twenty years. I write funny MG novels for Random House.

  42. PJ Bracegirdle says:

    >I am a vegetarian. But I will eat airplanes and bicycles if they are chopped into tiny pieces.

  43. >Even more off-topic . . .

    When this post was first up, I started to respond. I typed in the name of an author I know who is vegetarian. With my hand hovering over the submit button, I hesitated.

    I think that if we'd been having coffee at ALA, I'd feel fine mentioning that so-and-so was vegetarian. And I don't see any reason to think she wouldn't people to know that about her. It's just . . . it feels rude to be broadcasting personal stuff.

    It's a matter of privacy, but I'm finding the boundaries really mushy and incomprehensible. I wonder if anyone else feels this way? If Scott Westerfeld wants to put it on his webpage that he is a vegetarian, then obviously it's public knowledge. But Coe Booth doesn't seem to have anything on HER webpage about her diet preferences. And Scott Westerfeld doesn't mention he's a rabid worshipper of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but if he was, and if I gathered this information at an appearance of his at a library in Poughkeepsie in 1996 attended by myself and three other people, is it okay to mention it here?

    I really don't know what the boundaries are, so I didn't hit the submit button.


  44. Sarah Ockler says:

    >Hi Roger, I'm a YA author and vegetarian, like Megan mentioned.

    – Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah Hannaford)

  45. Debbie Diesen says:

    >Sounds like an interesting article!

    You can add me to the tally – I've been vegetarian for 15 or 20 years or so.

    Deborah Diesen, picture book author (The Pout-Pout Fish with FSG; The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade with Tricycle Press)

  46. Robin Brande says:

    >Hi, Roger. Laura's comment above is correct: I'm a vegan. I was a total carnivore before doing research for my latest YA novel, FAT CAT. Then in the middle of that, bam. Vegan. Have been for over two years now, and will be forever!

    All it took was watching a few hidden-camera videos of what really goes on in factory farms and slaughterhouses. I can never wipe those images from my mind, nor would I want to–they're what it took for me to wake up. I decided I wouldn't ever do those things to animals myself, so why would I pay someone else to do them? The easiest choice was to withdraw my money from supporting the meat, egg, and dairy industries.

    Besides, there are so many completely delicious (and much more nutritious) plant-based foods out there, so why would I ever need any animal to suffer and die just for my taste buds? Didn't make sense to me anymore. Which is why I became an overnight convert.

    Thanks for asking this question! It's really fascinating to read the answers.

  47. >I guess I'm considered a semi-veg because I sometimes eat fish. The only times I eat meat are in dreams when I've been tricked into it, and afterward I'm so horrified. The same thing happened last night with a glass of white wine. Too much information?

    Jeanne Birdsall (author of the Penderwicks, who don't eat meat, either.)

  48. Beth Kephart says:

    >I was one for eight years, but alas…. I began to cook for my husband.

  49. Shari Maurer says:

    >I am a YA author. I was a pescetarian (sp?) for many years until recently (had to go back to meat for health reasons) and my main character in my book Change of Heart shares the no meat/only fish thing.

    Good luck with your project.

  50. >Kate Constable and I were both vegetarians, neither of us are now.

  51. Mary Witzl says:

    >Tanita Davis (Mare's War, A La Carte) has been a vegetarian all her life. She's a great cook too — and an even better writer.

  52. stephanieburgis says:


    My first trilogy for 10-15-year-olds will be published by Atheneum Books (starting with Book One, A MOST IMPROPER MAGICK, this summer), and I'm a vegetarian.


  53. >Hi

    I'm an as-yet unpublished children's author, so I won't add my name to the vegetarian list, but I will weigh in on the idea of semi-vegetarians.

    I've been keeping a vegetarian diet for 20 years. When people tell me they are semi-vegetarian, or don't eat red meat, only eat fish, or only eat chicken, etc., my normal response is not to care. I don't eat meat for moral reasons, but I'm not interested in other people's diets unless we will be dining together and choice of restaurant or menu is an issue.

    The Vegetarian Rights Group has advocated a reduced-meat diet (just another term for semi-vegatrarian).Their reasoning is that people are more likely to stick with a reduced-meat diet as opposed to many people who try vegetarianism, slip once, and then go back to eating meat at every meal. If 2 people reduce their meat intake by half, it's the same net animal-saving effect as 1 person giving up meat entirely (give or take).

    The only thing that bothers me is when people call themselves vegetarian but continue to eat fish, poultry, or other non-veg items. Eat what you want, but please don't call yourself vegetarian if you aren't (occasional lapse aside). I only care because it makes it harder for me as strict vegetarian to be taken seriously. People still try to tell me that there's only a small amount of bacon, I won't even taste it. Or think if I don't ask (and therefore don't know) that the soup was made with chicken stock, it doesn't count. Or that I can eat a burger this once because someone else they know is also vegetarian and she still eats at McDonalds.

    Rant over.

  54. Helen Frost says:

    >I was vegetarian for four or five years before I lived in a small village in Alaska where all non-subsistence food had to be brought in on small airplanes. My first winter there, the longer the temperature stayed at 40-60 below, the more grateful I was for friends who let me share their moose and fish.

  55. Helen Frost says:

    >Call it serendipity–this came to my attention on the same day of this conversation: David Letterman and Julia Child, 1987.

  56. >wht a waste of modern technology!

  57. Susan Patron says:

    >Meanwhile, I and others in my group, CAILY*, are pacing noiselessly just beyond the light of your campfire.

    *Carnivorous Authors and Illustrators of Literature for Youth

  58. Heather Tomlinson says:

    >I've been a vegetarian since I was 11, and now write YA fantasy.

    Very curious to see the article!

    Heather Tomlinson

  59. >And I thought Anon was kidding prior to Midwinter with all the broccoli questions, but apparently he people at Horn Book have run out of ideas.

  60. >Good Gracious, I think the Spelling Troll mutated.

  61. Roger Sutton says:

    >Or maybe the troll ate some bad goat.

  62. julie Anne Peters says:

    >I'm a vegetarian. And I live to tell.


  63. >I'm vegetarian! Nice idea to compile it!

    Ryan Hipp

  64. jane Naliboff says:

    >I'm a children's author and have been a vegetarian for 38 years with the exception of some shellfish a few times a year. I raised my 3 daughters as vegetarians, also. My husband eats meat, but NEVER at home.

  65. Carolyn Marsden says:

    >I am a lifelong vegetarian, as is my 20-year old daughter. I write multicultural middle grade fiction for Candlewick, Viking, and Carolrhoda.
    Carolyn Marsden

  66. Hazel Mitchell says:

    >I love these bizarre American questions.

  67. Richard Michelson says:

    >I am a vegetarian–33 years if we are trumpeting our virtue– though my daughter, who is vegan, claims the moral high ground, and dismisses me like I’m a ritual slaughterer—so I am inclined to give the “part-veggies” a pass.

    And I was blessed to hear IB Singer tell me in person (well actually he told my wife, spending our entire time together staring at her and pretending I didn’t exist, even though I was the one in love with him) that he was a vegetarian “not for my health, but for the health of the chickens.” I thought this an example of his extemporaneous brilliance, till I discovered it was already published and part of his schtick. But a brave and honest schtick it was, especially at the time.

    Rich Michelson

  68. Kristina says:

    >I love seeing all these veg writers/illustrators as I am a vegan myself.

    However, those who still eat animals and call themselves some sort of vegetarian are ridiculous.

  69. >I was a vegetarian for 30 plus years and recently had to change that a bit due to health concerns.

    My 3rd book, FOX AND FLUFF (Whitman, 2002), had a nod to vegetarianism. A fox is raising a chick he discovered hatching out of an egg. The final scene is chick with his poppa Fox at Poppa Fox's Forest School. Behind them on the wall is a sign that says, "Vegetarian meals served."


  70. >I can't wait to see where this is going.

  71. TamieWrites says:

    >Ruhl Wolford was a vegetarian (and my grandfather!) for over 50 years, back when it wasn't cool.

    I am also a vegetarian. Thank you grandpa!

  72. Tina Kugler Studio says:

    >lapsed. but i tried really hard, when i was. pregnancy cravings trumped all.

  73. Wendy Wahman says:

    >Yup. Me too for many years. Not anymore, will eat chicken and fish, no red meat.
    ~ Wendy Wahman, author/illustrator of picture books.
    "Don't Lick the Dog," Henry Holt 2009

  74. Sweet Pea says:

    >I am a children's book illustrator and have been a vegetarian for thirty years.

  75. E. Lockhart says:

    >back to add: Just had a YA writer dinner w/ several vegetarians:
    me, Carolyn Mackler, Rachel Vail and Coe Booth.

  76. IrreverendAmy says:

    >Mark Twain? He was definitely an anti-vivisectionist, wrote against cruelty to animals, etc., but I don't know if claims that he also didn't eat animals are well-supported.

  77. Gretchen Woelfle says:

    >Vegetarian since 1969. Longer than I've been a children's author!


  78. Cheryl Renee Herbsman says:


    I've been a vegetarian since I was 13! My debut YA novel, Breathing, came out last April.

    Sounds like interesting research 🙂

  79. >Hi, I was just wondering if this article/list was ever published anywhere. I briefly googled it, but struck out. Thanks.

  80. Roger Sutton says:

    >That article was published in the May/June 2011 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. You can readi it here.

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