You might have already heard of Nikki. Nikki was a pregnant sow who was one of the lucky ones who had a second chance at life, after being found by Farm Sanctuary during the 2008 Midwest floods that ravaged the nation’s heartland. In a heartbreaking or heartwarming turn of events (I can’t figure out which), Nikki had given birth to a litter of piglets, building them a nest on the levee where she was found, and, according to Farm Sanctuary’s website, teaching them to hide from strangers (something I have attempted to master in my 31+ years on this planet, but I didn’t have Nikki to show me how).
Activist and author Susan Rooker was, like many of us, moved beyond words by this story. Or maybe not exactly beyond words, since she was so touched that she created a children’s book about it. In retrospect, it seems like the story of Nikki is actually a children’s book begging to be written. Entitled Lucky Pigs, Susan took it upon herself to self-publish it through Ahava Press, and make it available via Etsy (for just $13.95).
Here’s Susan’s sweet description of Lucky Pigs:
Listen as Nikki retells her piglets’ favorite bedtime story. It is the story of how she escaped a factory farm, give birth to piglets on a “mound of dry ground” and how they came to live in peace at Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY.
More and more of us are becoming aware of from where our food comes and how the animals involved are treated. This story can open discussions for older children or can be read as a simpler story for younger children.
In the end, Nikki does not know if her piglets believe that the story she tells is true. She doesn’t mind. She knows they will live long and happy at Farm Sanctuary.
If you’re like me and you like immediate gratification, you absolutely must check out the short video below that Susan put together, where you actually get to experience the book in its entirety. (You might need to pause it throughout in order to read the full text on each page, unless I’m just an incredibly slow reader.)
I’m such a huge fan of Susan Rooker for taking the passion she felt (we all felt!) for this story and producing this extremely creative project out of it. It’s just bursting with beautiful illustrations and a story that will make you cry, and will give you and the kids in your life warm fuzzies. It’s available on eBay too, in the kid’s book section of course, allowing Nikki’s story of survival to reach beyond just the animal rights community. I maintain that Lucky Pigs is exactly the kind of thing that has the potential to reach children (and hopefully their parents, too) with messages of compassion for all the earth’s inhabitants.