Top 10 Books By Vegan Women Leaders in 2020

Despite the challenges of the past year, these female vegan authors have put out some excellent reads.

Voices for Animal Liberation: Inspirational Accounts by Animal Rights Activists by Brittany Michelson (foreword by Ingrid Newkirk)

There are many different ways to do ‘activism’, from direct actions including street protests and outside (or inside) places that harm and exploit animals, to social media, letter-writing, signing petitions and more.

You may find how you do your activism changes over the years and that’s all good. Brittany Michelson has done a great job of providing you with inspiration and tips by bringing together activists from different backgrounds to share their perspectives on animal rights, the types of actions they’ve taken to advance the animal rights cause, the challenges they’ve come up against, and what activism means to them.

Contributors include Gwenna Hunter (Vegans of LA and Vegans for Black Lives Matter), actor Alexandra Paul, army veteran Jasmine Afshar, founder of United Poultry Concerns Karen Davis, founder of the Save movement Anita Krajnc, Olympic medalist and founder of Switch4Good Dotsie Bausch and many more (including a couple listed below).

The foreword is by tireless veteran animal activist Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of PETA.

Buy Voices for Animal Liberation

Vegan Living: A Simple Guide to a Cruelty-Free, Healthy, Plant-Based Life by Ondine Sherman

The latest book by Ondine Sherman, co-founder of Voiceless: The Animal Protection Institute in Australia, is the perfect introduction to those interested in protecting animals from cruelty, stopping climate change in its tracks, and living a happier, healthier life.

Beautifully illustrated and easy to read, Vegan Living provides readers with answers to common questions, effective tips and tools, and knowledge from both Ondine and a host of other vegans, including Vegan Women’s Leadership Network founder Katrina Fox.

This is an ideal gift for the vegan-curious, as well as family and friends of vegans.

Buy Vegan Living


White Tears, Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad

This year marks the US and UK release of White Tears, Brown Scars, the debut book by Australian vegan writer Ruby Hamad.

It’s based on an article Hamad wrote for The Guardian called ‘How White Women Use Strategic Tears to Silence Women of Color’ in which she lambasted the phenomenon of white women who, when called out on their oppressive behavior, turn on the waterworks to turn themselves into the victim.

Hamad has written and spoken about her own experiences of racism as a woman of middle eastern background writing in the Australian mainstream media for several years.

Indeed when the book was released in Australia in 2019, it was largely ignored by the majority of outlets as well as high-profile white feminists.

The book’s international release has seen Hamad receive the acclaim she deserves for this important exploration of how, throughout history to the present day, white feminism has been used as a weapon of white supremacy and patriarchy deployed against Black and Indigenous women, and women of color.

Buy White Tears, Brown Scars

Nourish: The Definitive Plant-Based Nutrition Guide for Families–With Tips & Recipes for Bringing Health, Joy, & Connection to Your Dinner Table by Reshma Shah and Brenda Davis

A winner of the Canada Book Awards, Nourish is the solution parents need to counter misleading headlines or well-meaning relatives or friends concerned about vegan nutrition for kids.

Written by board-certified pediatrician Dr Reshma Shah, and registered dietitian Brenda Davis, Nourish is an evidence-based, practical resource that explores the many benefits of a plant-based diet and provides parents with the tools they need to feed their families for health and with joy.

As well as mouthwatering recipes and tips on how to transition to plant-based eating, the book provides nutrition specifics for all the stages of childhood—from pregnancy and breastfeeding all the way through adolescence.

This is the book vegan parents have been waiting for.

Buy Nourish

The VegNews Guide to Being a Fabulous Vegan: Look Good, Feel Good & Do Good in 30 Days by Jasmin Singer

First of all, can we just say how … well, fabulous it is to see the words ‘fabulous’ and ‘vegan’ next to each other!

VegNews is a renowned print and digital magazine that’s been around for more than two decades. Headed up by publisher Colleen Holland, its aim is to make vegan living mainstream.

Now, along with its thousands of articles, recipes and news comes this book, written by longtime VegNews editor and author Jasmin Singer who shares everything you need to know about the myths and realities of adopting a plant-based life.

With 30 chapters (broken into daily topics) covering everything from that inevitable ‘where-do-you-get-your-protein’ question to how not to be an a**hole vegan to the best dairy-free cheese on the market the book provides readers with everything they need to be healthy, vegan and fabulous.

Buy The VegNews Guide to Being a Fabulous Vegan

Rethinking Food and Agriculture: New Ways Forward by Laila Kassam and Amir Kassam

This important academic tome highlights the many problems of our current food systems, from unsustainability, environmental destruction, inequality, hunger and food insecurity, and the unethical treatment of animals.

It unearths the deeply entrenched beliefs, values and ethics behind global capitalism and provides a way forward with animal-free, plant-based eating and an economic system based on ‘inclusive responsibility at the center.

Edited by Amir Kassam, visiting professor in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading, UK, and developmental economist Laila Kassam, co-founder of Animal Think Tank, the book contains contributions from a wide variety of experts including renowned environmentalist Dr Vandana Shiva, medical doctor and founder of Plant Based Health Professionals UK Dr Shireen Kassam and many more.

Due to its large academic price tag, the editors have generously made sections of the book available to the public to read on their website.

Buy Rethinking Food and Agriculture

Living Lively: 80 Plant-Based Recipes to Activate Your Power and Feed Your Potential by Haile Thomas

What’s special about this book is it combines delicious plant-based recipes with the author’s ‘7 points of power’ manifesto to inspire the next generation of leaders toward self-reflection, critical thinking, and unlearning toxic ideas.

Nothing too unusual about that you might think … except that the author Haile Thomas is just 19 years old!

When her father got type 2 diabetes when Thomas was eight years old, she soaked up her mother’s research into plant-based nutrition over the years and at age 16 she became the youngest person to graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

Now a social entrepreneur, speaker, and activist Thomas is an advocate for conscious living who promotes resilience, positivity, and a healthy, nourishing lifestyle to young people everywhere.

This is the kind of young, female leader we need!

Buy Living Lively

Hidden: Animals in the Anthropocene – Jo-Anne McArthur

Jo-Anne McArthur goes where most of us can’t bear to: Inside factory farms, slaughterhouses, fur farms, research facilities, and other places where the most awful cruelty, pain and suffering is inflicted on animals.

McArthur bears witness by taking photos and video footage to reveal to the world the terrible truths behind our food, clothing, skincare, medicines, household items and other products.

Hidden: Animals in the Anthropocene represents the work of over 30 photojournalists who have documented—and continue to document—the stories of animals in what Oscar-winning actor and vegan activist Joaquin Phoenix describes as “some of the darkest and unsettling places in the world”.

This is not light reading. It’s heartbreaking but incredibly important. As part of the funds raised by a crowdfunding campaign held by We Animals Media (McArthur’s company which is publishing the book) earlier this year, the book will be sent to a number of prominent and influential leaders.

Buy Hidden: Animals in the Anthropocene

The Friendly Vegan Cookbook: 100 Essential Recipes to Share with Vegans and Omnivores Alike by Toni Okamoto & Michelle Cehn

What happens when popular longtime vegan influencers with more than 1.5 million social media followers between them come together? The Friendly Vegan Cookbook!

Plant Based on a Budget’s Toni Okamoto has teamed up with World of Vegan’s Michelle Cehn to bring out this cookbook featuring 100 delicious, memorable dishes such as pot pie, sushi, mac n cheese, chocolate mousse and chewy brownies.

Through their popular food blogs, videos, podcast, and cookbooks, Okamoto and Cehn have helped millions of people make living vegan easy, fun, and delicious and this latest addition will no doubt help many more to take up plant-based eating.

Buy The Friendly Vegan Cookbook

 Natalie Portman’s Fables by Natalie Portman

Vegan actor Natalie Portman brought out her children’s book this year, which puts a compassionate and feminist twist on classic stories.

Noticing a heavy male narrative in many stories from her youth, Portman changed up the genders in popular tales such as the Tortoise and the Hare.

Kindness to animals is weaved throughout the stories and there’s even an eco-spin on some of them. In ‘The Three Little Pigs’ the house of straw is made with upcycled plastic straws to keep the plastic out of the ocean.

Gender equality and compassion are important messages for children to receive, and frankly this book needs to be required reading in schools for young kids.

Buy Natalie Portman’s Fables


Golden Age Politics: Inspired Ethical Politics for a Peaceful Thriving World by Kathy Divine

If 2020 and all of its disruption, tragedy and questionable leadership doesn’t wake us up, nothing will. This year has tested who’s got the goods to guide us through it, and who needs to quit and make way for leaders who have what’s required.

There’s never been a more urgent time to get the right people in place to help us navigate the pandemics, social justice issues, climate change and whatever else might be coming around the global corner.

So Australian author Kathy Divine’s book Golden Age Politics is so timely.

This is a book of ideas to ignite the hope of disillusioned voters and inspire vegan leaders, particularly women or others who embody the feminine principles of kindness and compassion, to consider how they can create a difference in this world and start developing their ideas about how politics could be, if it was honest and ethical.

Featuring contributions from a wide array of vegan politicians, business people and other leaders, the new book by the author of the bestselling titles Plant Powered Women and Plant Powered Men lays out a framework for the reorganisation of policy across all major portfolios in a way that will capture the imagination of even the most apathetic, politically unengaged person and re-inspire weary change makers.

Read it, be inspired, and rise up.

Buy Golden Age Politics


The Vegan Matrix: Understanding and Discussing Privilege Among Vegans to Build a More Inclusive and Empowered Movement by Melanie Joy

In this short guide, author Melanie Joy (renowned for coining the term ‘carnism’) examines unexamined privilege among vegans and vegan organizations, particularly in the wake of #metoo.

As with all her work, Joy breaks down complex issues into accessible nuggets, explaining what privilege is, why it’s so important for vegans to become aware of it, and how to talk about it in a way that deepens understanding and helps transform it.

Importantly, Joy demonstrates how more inclusivity and diversity within vegan organizations will benefit the movement as a whole and allow us to reach even more people with the vegan message.

Buy The Vegan Matrix


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