Beasts at Bedtime: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children's Literature

Beasts at Bedtime: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children's Literature

By: Liam Heneghan, Department of Environmental Science and Studies

In "Beasts at Bedtime," scientist and father Liam Heneghan examines the environmental underpinnings of children's stories. From "Beatrix Potter" to "Harry Potter," Heneghan unearths the universal insights into our inextricable relationship with nature that underlie so many classic children's stories. Though today's young readers will bear the brunt of these environmental calamities, they will also be able to contribute to environmental solutions if prepared properly. And all it takes is an attentive eye: Heneghan shows how the nature curriculum is already embedded in bedtime stories, from the earliest board books like "The Rainbow Fish" to contemporary young adult classics like "The Hunger Games."

What inspired you to write this book?
Beasts at Bedtime
(Image courtesy of University of Chicago Press)

 I was inspired by my children leaving home and recognizing the importance of the stories they read in their childhood in their formation as responsible, empathetic, environmentally responsible, socially committed citizens.

 Persuade someone to read your book in less than 50 words.

 "Beasts at Bedtime" will make you both nostalgic about your childhood, but also will allow you to fall in love with the world all over again.

 About the author: 

 Liam Heneghan is an ecosystem ecologist working at DePaul University, where he is a professor of environmental science and co-director of DePaul's Institute for Nature and Culture.

 Publisher, publication date, length:

 University of Chicago Press, May 2018, 350 pages

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