Kiddosphere: Sweet Reads – Books for National Honey Bee Day

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Beekeepers and other friends of bees have celebrated National Honey Bee Day on August 19 since 2009. While it’s certainly fine to be alarmed by bees (doubly so if you are allergic), children should understand that, for the most part, bees will leave you alone if you keep a respectful distance, and that bees are actually our “friends” that play crucial roles in food production. If you’d like to introduce your children/students to the importance of bees in our world, read on for some awesome titles for a wide range of ages.

Bear does not like bees! Not only do they bother him, but they steal honey. Luckily, Bee is right there to teach him a lesson about not only the helpfulness of bees, but also their willingness to share honey. Bear and Bee is a charming story about two unlikely friends, with a subtle message about assumptions.

Want to explain the process of beekeeping to young listeners? The Beeman is your best bet. Through simple rhyming text, a young boy narrates his grandfather’s care of his hives, from wearing protective covering to finally collecting the honey. Grandfather’s tools are also labeled and defined, and the activity of the bees is also detailed; a lot of great information is packed into this story!

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns. With Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz book cover

One of my favorite nonfiction series is Scientists in the Field; each volume is a fascinating introduction to scientists (often working with local communities when they can) dealing with a specific crisis, animal or naturally occurring event. The Hive Detectives follows a group of scientists researching the reasons behind an apiarist’s loss of four hundred hives, complete with brilliant photographs.

Anne Rockwell’s nonfiction titles are ideal for young readers; in Honey in a Hive, she takes readers through the life cycle of a honeybee and how nectar is produced into honey.

If you have a kindergarten or lower elementary school student, The Honey Makers (and everything else Gail Gibbons has written) should definitely be on your list. Like Gibbons’s other informational picture books, this would work well as a read aloud.

Everything is calm and quiet for a little girl collecting berries for jam when…UH OH! A bee happens to be buzzing about in the same spot she is! Thankfully, although both are a bit suspicious of each other, both learn to peacefully coexit. Jam and Honey is a gentle and loving story with a sweet message about respecting other creatures.

These Bees Count! brings us on a super cool field trip to a beekeeper’s farm! Farmer Ellen teaches these lucky students how collect pollen, produce honey, and help the environment. An author’s note provides more indepth information on the importance of bees and how colony collapse is threatening these vital insects.

For more information on bees, check out the J 595.799 section.

For program highlights and staff suggestions for children and young adult readers, make Kiddosphere your source for all the latest on what to read and what to do for kids!

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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