Anastasia Berg and Rachel Wiseman present What Are Children For?, in conversation with Liz Bruenig

June 11th

McNally Jackson Soho
134 Prince St.


This event is sold out! You can email to be added to the waitlist. We will be in touch if a spot opens up. 


A modern argument, grounded in philosophy and cultural criticism, about childbearing ambivalence and how to overcome it.

“In their widely researched and patiently argued book, Berg and Wiseman show how competing ideas about freedom, happiness, love, dignity, and justice attach to the increasingly ambivalent acts of having and raising children. What Are Children For? models the curiosity and the skepticism we need to imagine a collective future in dark times.”—Merve Emre, The New Yorker

Becoming a parent, once the expected outcome of adulthood, is increasingly viewed as a potential threat to the most basic goals and aspirations of modern life. We seek self-fulfillment; we want to liberate women to find meaning and self-worth outside the home; and we wish to protect the planet from the ravages of climate change. Weighing the pros and cons of having children, Millennials and Zoomers are finding it increasingly difficult to judge in its favor.

With lucid argument and passionate prose, Anastasia Berg and Rachel Wiseman offer the guidance necessary to move beyond uncertainty. The decision whether or not to have children, they argue, is not just a women’s issue but a basic human one. And at a time when climate change worries threaten the very legitimacy of human reproduction, Berg and Wiseman conclude that neither our personal nor collective failures ought to prevent us from embracing the fundamental goodness of human life—not only in the present but, in choosing to have children, in the future.

“By far the most honest, unsentimental, unpredictable, and rigorously thoughtful exploration of parenting that I have ever read. Berg and Wiseman’s debut is a much-needed and impressively original inquiry into a topic that is almost always treated in deadeningly stale terms.”—Becca Rothfeld, The Washington Post

“A lucid and sophisticated treatment of a question we all share a stake in: Ought there be future generations? Carving out a conversation about parenthood and the future that’s undisturbed by the warping effects of the culture wars, the book ably addresses contemporary challenges to parenthood—both practical and political—while developing its own optimistic case for human life.”—Elizabeth Bruenig, The Atlantic

Anastasia Berg is an assistant professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is an editor of The Point, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Times Literary Supplement, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Chronicle Review.

Rachel Wiseman is the managing editor of The Point. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Point, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Elizabeth Bruenig is a journalist and staff writer at The Atlantic, where she writes about theology and politics. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2019 and 2023.





 RSVP Below

In order to keep our events program running in uncertain times, we're asking attendees to hold their place with a $5 voucher, redeemable on the night of the event on any product in store or in our bar & café. If you have a change of heart or plans, write to and we'll gladly refund you and release your spot, up to 24 hours before the event. Thanks for understanding, and for supporting your local bookstore.