What might we learn about our own human natures from the friskiness of a young goat, the focus of a hawk, the transformation of a butterfly, or the hibernation of a bear?
How can animals—through their natural and cultural histories—offer us ideas that could help us better understand ourselves, navigate a relationship, or change an aspect of our lives? Do the animals that we admire or fear reveal something about us? What about the animals who appear in our dreams, visions, and creative inspirations? These are some of the questions addressed in Belinda Recio’s new book, Your Inner Zoo: A Guide to the Meaning of Animals and the Insights They Offer Us.
Part animal symbolism dictionary, part field guide, and part meditation on how animals help us to understand ourselves and the world, Recio wrote Your Inner Zoo to help readers develop a “zoology of the self”—a sense of how animals live within us as ideas and insights, intuitions, and instincts.
Interweaving natural history and with animal symbolism, metaphors, folktales, and traditions, Your Inner Zoo invites readers to approach animals as sources of wisdom, perspectives, and provocative ideas that can lead to self-discovery and a deeper connection with the more-than-human world.
Illustrated throughout with original color artwork by the author and stunning photography, Your Inner Zoo helps readers to recognize how much animals have contributed to the way we see ourselves and the world.
About the Author
Belinda Recio is a recipient of the Humane Society’s Award for Innovation in the Study of Animals and Society. She has written numerous books—including Inside Animal Hearts and Minds and When Animals Rescue—and has developed award‑winning science curricula for educational television, museums, and publishers. When not writing, she runs True North Gallery in Massachusetts, where she exhibits art that connects people with animals and nature.
“This is a wonderful book! It's full of delightful natural history nuggets combined with original insights. Your Inner Zoo helps us see that animal inspiration is all around us, showing us grace and beauty, compassion and wisdom, humor and courage. Everyone I know will love this.” —Sy Montgomery, author of the national bestselling How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals and The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness
“In Your Inner Zoo, Belinda Recio has done it again: she has blended scholarship and artistry to elevate our understanding of and respect for the animals with whom we share this planet. In past books she has illuminated animal intelligence and emotion. In this book she shares the cultural, artistic, historical, mythological, and mystical aspects of animals. This is not just another dictionary of animal symbolism. It is a contemplation about the deep-down links between animals and humans, and provides practical yet insightful ways animals can reveal our own inner natures.”—Joan Parisi Wilcox, Masters of the Living Energy: The Mystical World of the Q’ero of Peru
“Belinda Recio has once again written a comprehensive and enriching work that reminds us we are one with animals. This beautiful book reminds us that we share the planet with extraordinary beings who have their own innate wisdom and who contribute by their very existence to the continuation of life on earth.” —David Carson, author (with Jamie Sams) of the bestselling Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power through the Ways of Animals
PRAISE FOR BELINDA RECIO’S WHEN ANIMALS RESCUE “Uplifting and life-affirming, When Animals Rescue will save your day! These true stories about animal heroes are a tonic for tough times. I loved it.” —Sy Montgomery, author of How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals and The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness
“If you thought that only humans were capable of virtuous behavior, think again! When Animals Rescue will open your eyes to the breadth and depth of nonhuman kindness. Belinda Recio weaves in fascinating facts with astonishing stories about all kinds of animals—large and small, domesticated and wild—acting in compassionate ways. We need this book—not just to learn more about how other animals demonstrate kindness, but also to inspire more of this behavior in our own species! While books like this are timeless, its publication now is much-needed in a world in which far too much violence is directed toward far too many nonhumans in a wide variety of venues. My simple suggestion is to read this outstanding book, think about what you've learned, use this information to help other animals in an increasingly human-dominated world, and share it widely.” —Marc Bekoff, author of A Dog's World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World without Humans and The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy―and Why They Matter
“Social animals evolved to assist each other. This lovely book documents a great variety of rescues and helping, sometimes across species boundaries. There is really nothing to be ashamed of if someone calls you an animal!” —Frans de Waal, author of Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves
PRAISE FOR BELINDA RECIO’S INSIDE ANIMAL HEARTS AND MINDS “Belinda Recio has written a fascinating account of animal emotions and animal intelligence. She makes the stories she tells available to a wide audience, and her examples are fair, friendly, and charming. I cannot imagine any animal lover not finding this a wonderful book!” —Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, bestselling author of nine books on the emotional life of animals, including Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil
“Belinda Recio's Inside Animal Hearts and Minds will make it easier for people to rewild their hearts, and (re)connect with other animals. It's essential that as we learn about the inner lives of animals—their cognitive, emotional, and moral capacities—we take action on their behalf. Ms. Recio's book could be a game-changer.” —Marc Bekoff, author of A Dog's World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World without Humans and The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy―and Why They Matter