DANNA STAAF at Books Inc. Pruneyard

Author image of Danna Staaf and cover photo of her book Nursery Earth

Books Inc. Pruneyard is delighted to welcome local author Danna Staaf back to the shop for a celebration of her book Nursery Earth!

Preorder Nursery Earth online with us today for a signed copy!

From the author of Monarchs of the Sea, a first-of-its-kind journey into the hidden world of baby animals--hailed as "a gobsmacking delight!" (Sy Montgomery, New York Times-bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus)

It's time to pay attention to baby animals. From egg to tadpole, chick to fledgling, they offer scientists a window into questions of immense importance: How do genes influence health? Which environmental factors support--or obstruct--life? Entire ecosystems rest on the shoulders (or tentacles, or jointed exoskeletons) of animal babies. At any given moment, babies represent the majority of animal life on Earth.

In Nursery Earth, researcher Danna Staaf invites readers into the sibling (and, sometimes, clashing) fields of ecology and developmental biology. The tiny, hidden lives that these scientists study in the lab and in the wild reveal some of nature's strangest workings: A salamander embryo breathes with the help of algae inside its cells. The young grub of a Goliath beetle dwarfs its parents. The spotted beak of a parasitic baby bird tricks adults of other species into feeding it. Mouse embryos can absorb cancerous cell grafts--and develop into healthy adults.

Our bias toward adult animals (not least because babies can be hard to find) means these wonders have long gone under-researched. But for all kinds of animals, if we overlook their babies, we miss out on the most fascinating--and consequential--time in the lives of their species. Nursery Earth makes the case that these young creatures are not just beings in progress but beings in their own right. And our planet needs them all: the maggots as much as the kittens!


"Some animal babies are really cute (kittens), and some are a bit horrifying (larval parasites), but this book shows how all are incredibly interesting. Packed with the fascinating and the fantastic, Nursery Earth is a surprising page-turner, as hard to put down as a new puppy." --Carl Safina, New York Times-bestselling author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

"There is certainly a cuteness factor here. . . . [But] beyond the oohs and ahs, scientist Staaf shares significant findings about the connections between the environment and human genes. The miracle of life (and developmental biology, Staaf's specialty) is the book's journey, documenting each stage, from egg to juvenile/teenager, with easy-to-understand research and illuminating analogies." --Booklist

"I can't count the number of times the word wow crossed my lips as I eagerly turned to the next page of Nursery Earth. If you've ever wondered how nature works, Staaf shows us why you'd best not ignore the beginnings. This book is the finest kind of science writing: heartwarming and perspective-shifting!" --Juli Berwald, author of Spineless and Life on the Rocks


Danna Staaf earned a PhD in invertebrate biology from Stanford University and has been studying cephalopods for decades. Her writing on marine life has appeared in Science, Atlas Obscura, and many other outlets, while her research has appeared in the Journal of Experimental Biology, Aquaculture, and others, as well as in numerous textbooks. She is the author of Monarchs of the Sea and Nursery Earth. She lives with her family in Northern California.

Event date: 
Saturday, June 10, 2023 - 1:00pm
Event address: 
Books Inc. Pruneyard
1875 Bascom Ave., Suite 600
Campbell, CA 95008
Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals and the Extraordinary Ways They Shape Our World By Danna Staaf, PhD, Richard Strathmann, PhD (Foreword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781615199327
Availability: In Stock Now - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Please allow up to 48-hours for Curbside Pickup orders to be processed.
Published: The Experiment - June 6th, 2023