Harris Center Reads: Insects

June 30, 2020

We’re All Abuzz for Books About Bugs…

Welcome to Harris Center Reads — a monthly, curated list of good reads for curious naturalists of all ages! From the colorful flutter of butterflies and glittering glimpses of dragonflies to the quiet march of sugar ants and the magical flash of fireflies, July is full of fascinating insects. This month, catch up on the incredible lives of these animals by diving into one of these recommended books.

For Adults

Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration by Bert Hölldobler and E.O. Wilson. A brilliant mixture of memoir, scientific exploration, and natural history written by two of the world’s premier sociological and evolutionary biologists, this inspiring read will have you looking at ants in a whole new way.

Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs by Sue Hubbell. This collection of short, lyrical essays on invertebrates brings these often overlooked creatures into sharp focus, and offers an intriguing peek into their mysterious lives.

Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies by Sara Lewis. Delve into the science and wonder of fireflies with firefly biologist Sara Lewis, who says, “If you love fireflies, then I wrote this book for you.” Read this one by the light of firefly glow!

Picture Books for Kids

The Bugliest Bug by Carol Diggory Shields and Scott Nash. A summer camp favorite, this fun rhyming story not only tells the tale of a bug contest, but is also filled with accurate information about many common insects.

Hey, Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose and Debbie Tilley. A thought-provoking conversation between an ant and a boy about to step on the ant. Written by a father and daughter, this song-turned-story will have kids thinking twice before squishing ants.

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Turner by Janice Harrington and Theodore Taylor III. This non-fiction picture book shines a light on Charles Henry Turner, the first African American entomologist. Fascinated by insects and crustaceans, Turner studied their lives. When books didn’t answer his questions, he researched, experimented, and looked for answers on his own. You’ll be inspired by his unstoppable curiosity and passion — not just for insects, but for life itself. A must read!

For Middle School Readers

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman and Eric Beddows. This award-winning collection of poems for two voices celebrates the insect world. Easily read by an individual or out-loud as a duet, these evocative poems capture the vitality and beauty of insects.

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 back open for in-person shopping, and they’re also offering curbside pickup and shipping via Media Mail.

BORROW. In addition, many local libraries are now offering curbside pickup, as well as a wide variety of eBooks and other digital options. Check with your town library for more information.