“A powerful story of the right of children to live and thrive from birth.”

—Kirkus Reviews

A Good Time To Be Born

How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future


The fight against child mortality that transformed parenting, doctoring and the way we live.

Only one hundred years ago, even in the world’s wealthiest nations, children died in great numbers—of diarrhea, diphtheria and measles, of scarlet fever and meningitis. Culture was shaped by these deaths; diaries and letters recorded them, poets and writers wrote about and lamented them. Not even the high and mighty could escape: presidents and titans of industry lost their children, the poor and powerless lost theirs even more frequently.


The near-conquest of infant and child mortality is one of our greatest human achievements. Perri Klass pulls the story together for the first time, paying tribute to scientists, public health advocates, and groundbreaking women doctors who brought new scientific ideas about sanitation and vaccination to families. Thanks to their work, early death is now the exception, bringing about a massive transformation in society and freeing parents to worry a lot more about a lot less.


A Good Time to Be Born available in bookstores and online

October 13, 2020

A Good Time to Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future will be available online or at an independent book store near you.


Book talk: Seattle Town Hall

October 13, 2020

7:30 pm PST

Perri Klass at the Seattle Town Hall.

More information soon.

Book talk: Midtown Scholar Bookstore

October 14, 2020

7:00 pm ET

Perri Klass in conversation with Paul Offit, MD.

RSVP information soon.

Book talk: NYU Center for the Humanities

October 15, 2020
6:00 pm ET

Kick-off event for the Medical Humanities Working Group at the Center for the Humanities. Author in conversation with Prof. David Oshinsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Polio: An American Story.

RSVP information soon.

Book talk: Greenlight Bookstore

October 19, 2020

6:30 pm ET

Perri Klass in conversation with Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of Far From the Tree and Professor of Clinical Medical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center.

Learn more and register for the event here.

Book talk: Ethiopian School Readiness Initiative

October 20, 2020

7:00 pm ET

Perri Klass in conversation with Dr. Adam Ratner, the director of pediatric infectious diseases at NYU School of Medicine, will be discussing her new book, A Good Time to Be Born.  Dr. Irving Fish, founder of the Ethiopian School Readiness Initiative, will introduce the conversation which will be followed by a Q & A.

RSVP information soon.

Virtual event: Windsor, CT, Public Library

October 29, 2020

6:00 pm ET

Perri Klass at the Windsor Public Library. 

More information soon!