“In A Good Time to Be Born, [Klass] takes the most complex human patterns of all—history, medicine, politics, art—and knits them into something unique and beautiful.”

—The New York Times

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.


Book talk: Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

October 19, 2020

6:30 pm EDT

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 EDT

Perri Klass in conversation with Dr. Adam Ratner, Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Irving Fish, co-founder of the Ethiopian School Readiness Initiative, will introduce the conversation which will be followed by a Q & A.

Register for the event and learn more about ESRI.

Book talk: Reach Out and Read

October 28, 2020

4:00 pm EDT

Join Reach Out and Read National Medical Director Dr. Perri Klass in a conversation about science, public health and the fight against child mortality that transformed parenting, doctoring and the way we live. Dr. Klass will be joined by Dr. Eileen Costello for a rich conversation on the findings in Klass's recently published book, A Good Time to Be Born. 

RSVP here; registration is limited.

Virtual event: Windsor, CT, Public Library

October 29, 2020

6:00 pm EDT

Perri Klass at the Windsor Public Library. 

More information soon!