Maritza is a children’s author who wants to spread the vegan message. She is campaigning to raise funds in order to publish her book ‘A Pig is a Dog is a Kid’. Her illustrations are really wonderful.
Here is the interview I conducted with her where she discusses her passion and motivation.
Could you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Maritza Oliver. I am an entrepreneur, artist, animal liberationist, children’s book author and illustrator. I have combined my passion for art with my love of animal advocacy by writing children’s picture books on veganism. I live in British Columbia, Canada with my 12-year-old son, who loves to read and play soccer. We both lead a healthy vegan lifestyle and are proud of it.
When and why did you turn vegan?
It wasn’t until 31 July 2013 after searching for inspirational speeches on YouTube and coming across “The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear” by Gary Yourofsky that my values, ethics and moral compass were questioned. The very next day, 1 August 2013, I went vegan cold turkey and never looked back.
What is your background and why did you start to write for kids?
I’ve always owned some kind of business and done drawing and painting as a hobby. Writing for kids specifically goes very well with who I am and the type of artwork I do. Writing a children’s book that gently explains, in child-appropriate terms, why people choose to live vegan, it’s easier for me. What better way than accompanying the text with bold, whimsical and colourful illustrations, without being too graphic or scary, to depict the plight of animals used for food, clothing and entertainment.
‘A Pig is a Dog is a Kid’ shines a light on the disconnection between the animals we call pets and the animals we eat. The book will raise awareness of the speciesism that is inherent in our perception of animals, and will bring attention to the very valid question: “Why love one, but eat the other?” It will also challenge the notion that we need to eat animals for survival, when in reality it is a choice.
Why do you talk to children?
As a mother, I believe the importance of reaching out to children cannot be overemphasized. Children are more open-minded, inherently compassionate and receptive to new ideas. We need to empower them and give them the right to make their own choices at an early age. Only empowered children can save humanity from the massive ethical crisis we are witnessing today.
Do you think that it’s possible to reach children even if their parents are not vegans?
I believe everything is possible. The main message of my books is kindness and compassion, and even though vegan families are my main supporters, non-vegan families can also benefit from them. There are many creative ways to share and/or give my books as a gift to non-vegan children.
Where do you get your ideas?
Most people don’t want to know where their food really comes from, as the images found on the internet about animal cruelty, although real and truthful, can be disturbing and graphic. So I look at them and think of different ways to portray the same images but in a nicer way.
You are at the same time the writer and the illustrator, what is the relation between writing and illustrating? Do you prefer one of them?
Yes, I do both. While I am getting my ideas out of my head and down on paper I am already thinking about the illustrations that will go well with the text. They go hand in hand, you cannot do one without the other, but doing the artwork is what I certainly love the most
Was it difficult for you to write this book?
I am not a professional writer. English is my second language, and there are big challenges I face when writing in a foreign language. I do, however, find joy in doing it, because I only express what’s inside my heart. I explain complicated stuff in simple words, without worrying about being grammatically correct as there are professional editors out there that can come to the rescue
How do you feel before the publication? Relaxed, anxious, happy?
Every time I start a new project I always focus on the end result and not on the hard work. I have mixed emotions before the publication of a book, but when I finally hold in my hands the finished product, words cannot describe how happy and proud I feel about what I’ve accomplished
Do you already have another book in mind?
Yes, I do. My next book could be about climate change and the environment, and things children can do to start healing our planet Earth or something similar to that.
Do you have a final word for people who will read this interview?
Animal liberation and veganism are not my lifestyle, but my life. This is who I am. I will dedicate the rest of my life to spreading the vegan message through my work. If you are a vegan, share this positive change with others. You will not only help others improve their lives, but you will also help make a difference to the animals out there and save our planet Earth. But, most importantly, be proud of yourself for making the world a better place.
You can pledge to Maritza’s project by clicking here.