Kim Brooks
Best-Selling Author of Small Animals

Kim Brooks is the author of Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear, described by the National Book Review as “an impassioned, smart work of social criticism and a call for support and empathy,” and by Publishers Weekly as, “A disturbingly, ultimately affirming look at why parenting in the contemporary United States is defined by fear.”


A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of numerous fellowships, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Chicago Magazine, Salon, Buzzfeed, and other publications. She has spoken as a guest on CBS This Morning, PBS Newshour, 20/20, NPR’s All Things Considered, Good Morning America, the Brian Lehr Show, and many other radio shows and podcasts such as Note to Self, Mom and Dad Are Fighting, Femsplainer, and Matt Lewis’ The News. Her novel, The Houseguest, was published in 2016. She lives in Chicago. You can follow Kim on Twitter.

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Small AnimalsParenthood in the Age of Fear
Flatiron Books

One morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her four-year old son in the car while she ran into a store. What happened would consume the next several years of her life and spur her to investigate the broader role America’s culture of fear plays in parenthood. In Small Animals, Brooks asks, Of all the emotions inherent in parenting, is there any more universal or profound than fear? Why have our notions of what it means to be a good parent changed so radically? In what ways do these changes impact the lives of parents, children, and the structure of society at large? And what, in the end, does the rise of fearful parenting tell us about ourselves?

Small Animals: Parenting in the Age of Fear 24-hour-news cycle-spawned social panics, changing patterns in family structure, and rampant consumerism have transformed child-rearing from an inherently private relationship into an all-consuming, competitive sport. Brooks reveals how expectations of parents have changed in the course of a single generation and how these expectations–fueled by fear rather than reality–leave working mothers and low-income families with few options and pressure mothers to report to one another. Children are left with little opportunity to learn about the world on their own, to develop their self-efficacy and control, or to connect with their communities.
The Cinderella Paradox: Feminism, Domestic Labor, and the New Cult of Domesticity Just as Cinderella is told by her evil stepsisters that she can go to the ball just as soon as she’s swept all the chimneys and scrubbed all the floors (without any compensation), American mothers today are told that they can have careers and take part in public life as full and equal citizens just as soon as they’ve fulfilled the ever-expanding duties and responsibilities of intensive motherhood. In this speech dubbed The Cinderella Paradox, Brooks examines the set of double standards, impossible expectations, and anti-family policies that continue to disempower women in the twenty-first century.

Read Kim’s op-ed on Mother’s Day and equal pay in The New York Times.

Read Kim Brooks’ op-ed on how to parent & work from home without being overwhelmed.

Read Kim’s op-ed in The New York Times.

Listen to Kim discussing the importance of free time and play on WPHT’s Rich Zeoli Show.

The New York Times excerpts an essay from Small Animals.

Read The New York Times Book Review‘s review of Small Animals and listen to their podcast with Kim.

Listen to Kim’s interview on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Kim sits down with CBS This Morning to talk about how fear of judgment from others impacts parenting.

USA Today interviews Kim on the inspiration for Small Animals.

KCRW’s Press Play interviews Kim on “the era of paranoid parenting.”

Small Animals is highly anticipated by  The Chicago TribuneThe Seattle TimesChicago MagazineBookRiotPublishers Weekly and Chicago Reader.

Kim talks about her debut novelThe Houseguest, on the Behind the Prose podcast.

Follow Kim on Twitter and visit her website.

Praise for Small Animals: “Parents will flock to read the first nonfiction book from Brooks…Her engaging account of life as a modern-day parent blends memoir and her research from interviews with other parents, psychiatrists, and parenting experts to provide a deeper understanding of the ways fear and judgement affect the limits and freedoms we give ourselves and our children.”
Booklist starred review

“SMALL ANIMALS by Kim Brooks, came at me like a giant exhalation, a release of so much of the stress I’ve carried around since becoming a mother. I forced my advance copy on someone within an hour of finishing it, telling her it would change her life. It’s already changed mine.”
– ​Rebecca Makkai, ​Condé Nast Traveler

“An engaging, enlightening story that reveals the potential harm parents and society can do to children when they don’t allow them any freedoms at all.”

“​SMALL ANIMALS is more than a memoir: It is a call to action​ for all of us to quit the judgmental parenting Olympics.”

“This thoughtful, thought-provoking book is part memoir, part examination about our modern American parenting culture, which is often fueled by anxiety and judgment. While I am not a particularly anxious parent, I did find Kim's personal story moving, and her research enlightening. ​I want to talk about it with every parent I know​.”
― Edan Lepucki, ​New York Times​ bestselling author of ​California