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an illustrated book about our natural compassion

Written by Anne Mitchell

Illustrated by Suzanne King

Available for online purchase at:

reviews for


I Knew When I Was Five speaks openly about what we all know to be true but rarely express, even as adults. Our culture represses the value of life and the treachery of killing when it comes to the animals we want to use for some purpose. This creates an inner conflict in us that author Anne Mitchell rightfully recognizes is best confronted in childhood. While every parent decides when their child is ready to learn certain difficult truths about the world we live in, denying them the knowledge contained in this book desensitizes them to the suffering of others which becomes engrained in us as adults. The only way to break this cycle is to let a book like this do its healing work.
- Robert Grillo, activist, author, speaker for all species. founder and director of Free from Harm and Slaughter Free Chicago.
I Knew When I Was Five is a beautifully written and illustrated book that celebrates the innate compassion and respect that we all have for our fellow living beings that cohabit the earth.

It provides an important voice that cultivates and encourages kindness and empathy in children, rather than stifling it, as popular culture often does through messages of indifference toward fellow humans and non-human animals.  

The questions and actions to consider provide an opportunity for caregivers to continue a dialogue to evoke the thoughts, emotions, and calls to action that will make compassion to all sentient beings a part of who they are and how they live.

We look forward to sharing this book with our daughter and using it to launch a discussion about how we each can contribute to a kinder world.

— Katelin Rupp, Co-Founder, Indy VegFest
Check out our free, printable coloring pages based on the illustrated book, I Knew When I Was Five. More coming soon!
Anne’s book will help readers truly relate to an array of animals that our society too often views as food, not fellow creatures worthy of living out their lives in peace. 
I Knew When I Was Five will motivate readers to rethink their food choices and explore how to live in a way that is more compassionate to animals, people, and our planet.

— Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director, Hoosier Environmental Council
Anne has written a wonderful book that accurately conveys the individuality and
sentience of the animals some people see as food.  It is beautifully illustrated and my
hope is that every adult will read it to a child in their life. That said, the message is important to those of all age groups.

— Mark Pruitt, Co-founder & VP, Uplands Peak Sanctuary
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