Review from Publishers Weekly
"(Author JoAnn) Farb, a biologist and activist, urges adults to be consciously aware of the choices they make in parenting and how these are shaped by such outside influences as the media, popular culture and marketing. The author covers a number of issues, including natural childbirth, breastfeeding, animal rights and progressive education, citing research as well as personal experience to shore up her arguments in support of each. A tedious chapter dissects the author's birth experiences, but overall, Farb's concise, earnest writing reveals an apparently heartfelt wish to make the world a safer, better place for children and families. A devoted vegan, the author includes a useful chapter on the advantages of vegan diets for families and pregnant women as well as for families and reveals disturbing information about the practices of the meat and poultry industries (she was once employed as a biodecontamination specialist). Home-schooling, not surprisingly, is another of her favorite topics, as is the potential dangers of vaccinating children, which she covers in depth. While some of her leaps seem dubious (she speculates, for instance, that bottle-fed babies will grow up to be more materialistic than those who are breastfed), much of her text is obviously carefully researched. Though the author's wholesome life style may not appeal to readers dedicated to Disney, Barbie, burgers and other pop culture favorites, parents on--or over--the mainstream fence will find plenty here to inspire and guide them. Farb shelters her own children from television, movies, junk food and the like, but she manages to maintain a non-judgmental approach toward parents."
Vegetarian Journal(September/October 2000)
"In the introduction to her new book, JoAnn Farb states, 'This is a book about conscious parenting. It is, therefore, a book about choices.' Indeed, you or someone you know raising a child today definitely has challenges. And if you're bringing up your child vegetarian or vegan, there are additional issues to be dealt with on a daily basis. JoAnn is a vegan activist. She has two daughters and has learned (and is still learning) a lot while raising them. In Compassionate Souls, JoAnn touches on issues such as birthing methods, breastfeeding, vaccination, nonviolent discipline, education, and dealing with family and community. From the start, JoAnn indicated that the reader may or may not agree with all her ideas. Personally, as the mother of a 2-year-old vegan child, I do not concur with all of JoAnn's choices. Nevertheless, I feel this book would be an interesting read for anyone thinking of raising his or her children in as non-violent a way as possible. Compassionate Souls is not a technically researched book. Rather, it is a book offering one person's opinion based on her own experiences. It will certainly make you think about the choices you have when raising children in a meat-eating and often violent world."
"I love it when people don't flinch at taking on the big picture. Writing with the courage of a fully committed and radical Cultural Creative, the author jumps in with both feet when it comes to raising children consciously and preparing them to "swim against the tide" -- for swim against the tide we often must. This is a book for EVERYONE to read, even if we aren't raising children right now, as Farb's ideas help to keep our vision and intentions pure (though we may yet flounder in quagmires of self-indulgence from time to time). Farb goes further than some might -- advocating vegan diets and opposing vaccination, for example -- but she doesn't insist that we follow her program one hundred percent, just that we think more clearly and be more aware of what our lifestyle choices really are -- AB"
Reviewed in VegNewsNov/Dec 2000.
Reviewed by Willow Jeane Lyman
My Regret is that Compassionate Souls was delivered after I raised my children. This is a textbook for young parents of the millennium.
Today parents face a bigger challenge then ever in raising our children to be compassionate and healthy in a hectic, violent and commercial environment. the importance of helping our children think for themselves while providing a sane and healthy lifestyle is detailed in Farb's book.
She begins with pregnancy, giving birth, the benefits and joys of breastfeeding, play, family and community life for children. Farb has not only researched these subjects, but she and her husband have experienced them firsthand.
Compassionate Souls is an informative, enlightening wealth of thought provoking material that is a must for families of today. Farb has done a great job and I enjoyed the book while learning some essential facts on parenting-even after my experiences with my children.
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