Date & Time
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
Free and open to the public
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
Liam Heneghan discusses "Beasts at Bedtime: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children’s Literature." A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.
At the Co-op
About the book: Talking lions, philosophical bears, very hungry caterpillars, wise spiders, altruistic trees, companionable moles, urbane elephants: this is the magnificent menagerie that delights our children at bedtime. Within the entertaining pages of many children’s books, however, also lie profound teachings about the natural world that can help children develop an educated and engaged appreciation of the dynamic environment they inhabit.
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. Some of the largest environmental challenges in coming years—from climate instability, the extinction crisis, freshwater depletion, and deforestation—are likely to become even more severe as this generation of children grows up. 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."
"Beasts at Bedtime" is an awakening to the vital environmental education children’s stories can provide—from the misadventures of The Runaway Bunny to more overt tales like "The Lorax." Heneghan serves as our guide, drawing richly upon his own adolescent and parental experiences, as well as his travels in landscapes both experienced and imagined. Organized into thematic sections, the work winds its way through literary forests, colorful characters, and global environments.
This book enthralls as it engages. Heneghan as a guide is as charming as he is insightful, showing how kids (and adults) can start to experience the natural world in incredible ways from the comfort of their own rooms. "Beasts at Bedtime" will help parents, teachers, and guardians extend those cozy times curled up together with a good book into a lifetime of caring for our planet.
About the author: Liam Heneghan is professor and chair of environmental science and studies at DePaul University. He is a Dubliner, an occasional poet, and a father of two grown children to whom he read every night of their early years.
About the interlocutor: Chris Green is the author of three books of poetry: The Sky Over Walgreens (2007), Epiphany School (2009), and Résumé (2014). His poetry has appeared in such journals as Poetry, New Letters, Verse, Nimrod, RATTLE, and Black Clock. He teaches in the English Department at DePaul University.