Harris Center Reads: Bees

May 10, 2021
A bee collecting pollen from a lavender flower. (photo © Heather McKean via Unsplash)

Pollinate Your Mind…

Welcome to Harris Center Reads — a curated list of good reads for curious naturalists of all ages! In spring, when bees are busy buzzing from flower to flower, we offer our recommendations for books featuring these hard-working pollinators.

For Adults

The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild by Thomas D. Seeley. In this captivating book, a world expert on honey bees turns his eye to what scientists are learning from honey bees living outside the care of beekeepers. Looking at the biology, social behavior, and survival strategies of feral bees, The Lives of Bees offers hope that these pollinators might hold the key to our planet’s survival.

The Bees by Laline Paull. In this novel set in an orchard bee hive, we meet Flora 717, a sanitation bee who challenges the status quo. Passion and intrigue ensue, and the hierarchy of the hive is forever called into question.

The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia, translated into English by Simon Bruni. This mesmerizing work of magical realism from Mexico tells the story of Simonopio, a child found abandoned and covered in a blanket of bees in a small Mexican village. The Washington Independent Review of Books called it “a dizzying swirl of history, family lore, tragedy, redemption, and, of course, magic.”

Picture Books for Kids

Give Bees A Chance by Bethany Barton. Do you know someone who is anxious about bees? This book is for them! A wonderful mixture of facts and fun filled with lively illustrations, Give Bees A Chance makes a compelling case for opening your heart to these important insects.

Bea’s Bees by Katherine Pryor and Ellie Peterson. Find out how Bea gets her friends, family, and community to help bumblebees. After reading this sweet story about how one kid can make a difference in the world, your own little bees might just get inspired to help the pollinators in their backyard.

Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha. This beautifully designed book traces the complicated history of humans and honey bees, from ancient times to modern days. An inviting blend of science and history.

For Middle School Readers & Teens

Bee Fearless: Dream Like A Kid by Mikaila Ulmer. Meet Mikaila Ulmer, a passionate bee conservationist, entrepreneur, and the 15-year-old author of this book. After being stung by bees twice in one week when she was only four, Mikhaila’s parents encouraged her to learn everything she could about bees. When she discovered their key role in pollination and that certain bee species were endangered, she set out to find a way to help them.

The Way of the Hive: A Honey Bee’s Story by Jay Hosler. Jay Hosler brings honey bees to life in this vividly illustrated, coming-of-age graphic novel. Follow Nyuki, a young bee, as she meets the other members of her hive, learns how to avoid predators, and discovers her own inner voice. The perfect combination of science and adventure.

Where to Find These Books

BUY. We’d like to give a special shout-out to our local bookseller, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough! They’re open for in-person shopping, and they also sell online.

BORROW. In addition, many local libraries are now open for in-person visits. They also offer a wide variety of eBooks and other digital options. Check with your town library for more information.