When Vienna resident Patricia Britz worked at the National Sleep Foundation, she fielded calls from parents wanting information on sleep needs of their children. Sleep, Britz observed, is not as valued as it deserves to be. Parents recognize their children “need” sleep, but students and many adults boast about how little sleep they get nightly. Britz knew that children develop habits when young, and she set out, a couple of years ago, to reach out to primary-school children about the value of sleep. Her recently published book, “Animals Need Zzzs, Too,” engages the 4 to 8-year-old market with playful interactive descriptions and softly colored illustrations.
"This book offers a new and different perspective on the importance of sleep and will alert both parents and children to basic sleep facts.”
—Meir H. Kryger M.D.
“It’s a fun way to appreciate the importance of getting a good night’s sleep,” said Britz. “Children love animals and what they do. Kids will look at the book and say, ‘oh they sleep like that. We sleep like this.’”
While working at the National Sleep Foundation, Britz developed the website’s kids-and-sleep resource. It inspired her to target children themselves at an early age. “The idea is for kids to think about their own need for sleep as a universal requirement for all animals.”
The soft-cover book addresses modes of sleep for humans and other animals, illustrating the differences between diurnal and nocturnal animals, and animals who sleep standing up and those who lie down. Young children and baby animals sleep for up to 14 or 15 hours a day, but the sleep need tapers off as animals mature, the book tells the young readers. What makes the book entertaining to children is the manner in which Brtiz weaves facts into the book’s illustrations. As she conveys details, she poses questions to the reader, as well.
Britz worked at the National Sleep Foundation for seven years and has worked in the health field, from hospice to public affairs and the brain injury foundation, for most of her adult life. She has master’s degrees in education and in public management, focusing on health.
Britz does readings and interactive presentations for children in the Northern Virginia area.
The National Sleep Foundation purchased 400 copies of “Animals Need Zzzs, Too.”
"This book offers a new and different perspective on the importance of sleep and will alert both parents and children to basic sleep facts,” said Meir H. Kryger M.D., past chair and current member of the National Sleep Foundation Board of Directors, in a written statement. “Parents are offered tips on how to establish healthy sleep habits for young children that will last a lifetime."
Britz has sold her book at book fairs and holiday bazaars. Artist Kelly Carter illustrated “Animals Need Zzzs, Too.”
“The whole thrust is to impart to children that all animals need sleep,” Britz said. “It’s a basic drive.”
Contact author Patricia Britz at PBritz12@gmail.com if you would like her to give a presentation to a children’s group or preschool.