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Sizzling Summer Reading: Books That Buzz

Bees love a sunny spot where they can visit native plants to collect their pollen. Why not fill your bookbag with a few of these titles, put on your sunscreen, grab your water bottle, and head outside to enjoy learning some buzzworthy info as you observe the bees and their buzzy busywork?

Written by:



Conservation , Wildlife

Aug 10, 2023

Bees love a sunny spot where they can visit native plants to collect their pollen. Why not fill your bookbag with a few of these titles, put on your sunscreen, grab your water bottle, and head outside to enjoy learning some buzzworthy info as you observe the bees and their buzzy busywork?

The Bee Book
By Charlotte Milner

In The Bee Book, you can learn:

  • What happens in the hive
  • What pollination is
  • Facts about the queen
  • How honey bees communicate
  • How we can support declining bee populations

Bees are responsible for so much more than making honey. These are even more reasons that bees need our help!

What can you do to help them?

Bees: A Honeyed History 
By Piotr Socha

This book’s uniquely-designed illustrations provide a comprehensive history of the bee! From scientific, to cultural, to historical frameworks, Bees: A Honeyed History follows the bees’ important role in the ecosystem. Ranging from times of Athena to Alexander the Great, and from Egypt to Ethiopia, explore bees in both ancient and modern contexts. Native plant diversity is depicted through illustration and notes. The beekeeper’s equipment is illustrated, labeled, and described.

The Buzz on Bees: Why Are They Disappearing?
By Shelley Rotner and Anne Woodhull

This book introduces the topic of colony collapse disorder, where thousands of bees go missing. Readers will be introduced to how scientists pose a scientific question, develop a hypothesis, and go about attempting to find their answers.

This easy-to-read text has colorful photos that drive home bees’ roles as pollinators and addresses the potential impact of disappearing bee colonies on our food sources. The end notes, entitled “Bee active” provide conservation ideas, and the “Find out more!” section suggests websites that teach readers how to take proactive measures.

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe
By Loree Griffin Burns

Learn about honey bees, the honey they make, and the work of beekeepers. The book focuses on colony collapse disorder and chronicles the observation of beekeepers who noticed the collapse of their hives in 2006. It then documents the discoveries of scientists who investigated the causes of CCD. To learn more about the author and her work, check out her website.

Honey Bees: Letters from the Hive {A History of Bees and Honey} 
By Stephen Buchmann

Best for middle schoolers and up, Buchmann is a bee expert and renowned entomologist who offers a historical perspective on the relationship between humans and bees through multidisciplinary contents such as art, religion, medicine, and literature. Also included are bee biology and the bees’ role as pollinators. In-depth study of the beehive is discussed, along with detail about honey chemical composition and other products derived in and around hives. This book was awarded the NSTA Outstanding Trade Book certificate.

Next Time You See a Bee
By Emily Morgan

According to the National Science Teachers Association, which awarded this book the honor of Outstanding Science Trade Book, this book will get young readers buzzing about bees! Next Time You See a Bee reveals the big impact these little insects have on the world. It shows how the physical features of bees make them pros at collecting and spreading pollen and explains how bees pollinate flowers, allowing the plants to produce delicious familiar foods such as apples and peaches. Also included are bee-friendly measures to protect these insects.
This is a great little video trailer for the book.

The book recommends these websites to learn more:

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera
By Candice Fleming and Eric Rohmann 

This book is designed to reveal a single honeybee’s journey, starting with its emergence from the wax-capped cell. Included is the day-to-day work involved, like feeding the larvae and queen, building the wax combs that store honey, and defending the hive from invaders. The story then moves to bee life outside the hive and work-driven adventures. You can check out STEM lesson plan materials from the publisher here.

The Honeybee
By Kristen Hall and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

What’s that?
Do you hear it?
You’re near it.
It’s closer, it’s coming, it’s buzzing, it’s humming...

Readers “hear” the first bee (“It’s closer, it’s coming, it’s buzzing, it’s humming...”) before they see it arrive and land on a flower in search of nectar. The book is known for its beautiful illustrations as well as its sweet celebration of honey bees. Isabelle Arsenault is a Canadian illustrator and has won awards for her work including Communication Arts, American Illustration and Applied Arts, The Governor General Award for French language children’s illustration, Jon Shuster Award for outstanding artist, New York Times list of best illustrated children’s books and others. As an end note to readers, the author states, “I wrote this story for an important reason. The honey bee is one of the world’s most marvelous creatures. And sadly, it’s in danger. In writing this book, I was hoping you might grow a new appreciation for the honey bee – and that you would join me in caring about its future.”

Download the full PDF here.

This resource was created by Kate Reilly.

Written by:


Tags: Conservation , Wildlife

August 10, 2023