I recently checked out two books from the library pertaining to my own interest in honeybees. Though I first read them myself thinking they’d be way over the kids heads, I decided to read them in chunks during our science time, and they really enjoyed them. My 6yo ds especially remarked while reading The Hive Detectives said, “This really IS like a mystery! I can’t believe this is actually happening in our world right now!”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Also, I’m kind of having a Levar Burton moment right now. “You should read these books,…but you don’t have to take MY word for it…”
Honeybees at Home, by Lynne Harwood, was a delightful picture book, but as long as a short chapter book, really. It followed a woman’s developing skills as an apiarist, and the people that mentored her along the way. The pictures were very impressionistic, and my 6 yo ds loved studying impressionism, so, again, I think this book really spoke to him. I would call it a “living book” (as Charlotte Mason might have as well.) A living book is a book that relates facts in a narrative way — so that the facts aren’t dry and boring, but, as they’re related in more of a story format, really “stick” in your mind. Like sticky, sweet honey, perhaps?
After reading that book, we had the chance to listen to a backyard beekeeper present at our library! This was neat, and really a connection for the kids. They were hearing about what they read about, and it really reinforced their learning (and mine!).
The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (by Loree Griffin Burns, photos by Ellen Harasimonwicz) walked us all through the the issues and mysteries surrounding the rise of Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, which is a serious threat to American beekeeping. The book helped us to understand the convergence of problems: pesticides farmers and home gardeners use, miticides beekeepers themselves use, and parasites and viruses that are attacking the bee colonies — which left many, many hives completely and mysteriously empty. The boos left with no totally 100% clear conclusion, but the probability that it is all of these factors in relation that have caused CCD. It also left us with hope that there were things we could do about helping bee colonies to stay alive and safe — and producing delicious honey for us!
I love sharing these books with the kids (and learn just as much as they do!)