Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America

This book gives space to all walks of life touched by beavers—with a lot of science tucked into every page.

illustrated stack of books with text "scifri book club"Welcome to the SciFri Book Club page about Beaverland. There’s lots of ways to participate: Read the book, listen to our interview with the author, join our community space, attend an event, or send a message on the SciFri VoxPop app.

This January, the SciFri Book Club will explore the world of beavers with Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America by award-winning writer Leila Philip. Beginning with the early trans-Atlantic trade in North America, Leila Philip traces the beaver’s profound influence on our nation’s early economy and feverish western expansion. While beavers are known for their fascinating ecological niche and many natural talents in the wild, the book also tells the story of how beavers have affected human industry, knowledge, and culture. Through her engrossing investigation of the beaver’s past and present, Philip makes the case that while beavers are at the mercy of human-caused ecological deterioration themselves, they might one day save North America’s environmental future.  

Beaverland brings together a range of topics, including conservation, ecology, North American history, animal behavior, the hunting and fur-trapping industries, and more—and we’ll touch on these ideas throughout this Book Club season. You can get your copy from your local bookstore or on

This Book Club season kicks off Sunday, January 1, and you can read along with us! We’ll be (loosely) following this schedule, but all our readers are welcome to join us at their own pace:

  • Chapters 1-4 from January 1-8
  • Chapters 5-8 from January 9-15
  • Chapters 9-12 from January 16-22
  • Chapters 13-15 from January 23-31

Plus, we’ll be hosting virtual and in-person events throughout the month! Keep an eye out on our website or join our Events newsletter to be the first to know.

There are so many ways to dive in and participate! You can grab a copy of the book (and support the author and SciFri), read an excerpt from Beaverland, join the discussion in our online Book Club community, sign up for our email newsletter, or RSVP for our upcoming Book Club events. Check out all the details below.

Grab Your Own Copy

If you’d like to purchase a physical copy, we encourage you to start local! Check out the SciFri Book Club partner bookstores and libraries—if you’re in the area, consider supporting your local bookseller or public library (plus, mention our Book Club for a percentage off your purchase at participating shops!).

If they don’t have the book in stock or you’d rather purchase online, you can support Science Friday by buying your copy on our page.

Save The Date: SciFri Book Club Events

Event promotional image. In top left corner, SciFri Book Club logo, with event info below: Welcome to Beaverland, January 26, 6:00pm ET, Online and Free, with the URL: Above, two images of women smiling at the camera (Leila Philip, author, and Emily Fairfax, researcher), and the cover of her book, BEAVERLAND, to the left.

Welcome to Beaverland: SciFri Book Club Author and Expert Livestream

How would you describe beavers to someone who has never heard of them? Maybe you’d call them nature’s engineer, or you’d mention that they’re mammals with flat tails, ever-growing teeth and water-resistant fur, or perhaps that they are a keystone species that help maintain ecosystems across the country!

Rewatch Livestream

We’ve gathered two experts who have dedicated their recent work to telling you all about these weird and wonderful animals. Come with your questions for Leila Philip, author of Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America, and Emily Fairfax, beaver and ecohydrology researcher, about these amazing hodgepodge creatures.

The cover of BEAVERLAND by Leila Philip overlayed over an image of dark rippled water.

SciFri Book Club January community meeting: Beaverland

Want to meet other SciFri Book Club members, talk about the book selection, and find more resources for deeper learning—all without leaving your home? Our community meeting is the place for you!

RSVP for Jan. 31

This discussion meeting will focus on themes and topics featured in Beaverland. You’re welcome to join us no matter your reading progress—come chat with other science-interested folks about conservation, ecology, North American history, animal behavior, the hunting and fur-trapping industries, and more!

Join Our Community Space

And as you start reading, join us on our online community space: the Science Friday Book Club is now on Mighty Networks, a platform where we can gather, read and discuss science books together. We’ve built this community space because you told us you wanted a better way to be connected with other SciFri Book Clubbers, and we hope you’ll join us there!

Join Our Community

Read An Excerpt

Not sure this is the book for you? Want to read an excerpt before you commit? We’ve got you covered.

Twelve Books, the publisher of Beaverland, has offered SciFri Book Clubbers an excerpt of the book! You can read this sample on our website.

Read The Excerpt

Explore More

Welcome to Beaverland: SciFri Book Club Author And Expert Livestream

On January 26, join our chat with the author of 'Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America' about this peculiar keystone species.

Read More