Native Stingless Bees and Bee Books

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It has been a very big week at school! Monday we had Elly Awesome (who was awesome and her book is here) and Tuesday we had Dr Tobias Smith from Bee Aware Kids to talk all things native bees and split our native bee hive. Apparently we are excellent school beekeepers – yay Earth Angels!

Native stingless bee hives are fabulous for the kindergarten or school environment – the curriculum based learning that can take place is wonderful, but for me the greatest joy is watching parents and students change their route into the school grounds to wish the bees a good morning, watching students who need some quiet in their day sit and observe the bees at lunchtime, and seeing prep children drag visiting grandparents to ‘come and see our bees’. I can highly recommend bee watching myself actually and really do need some bees for our home garden I’ve decided. In what has been a truly awful year for my girls and I, watching strong little female bees fly in and out on their daily search for pollen and nectar has afforded moments of peace and time to appreciate the mystery and wonder of nature. 

If you are Brisbane based, the educational workshops of Dr Tobias Smith are the best on offer – we had over 100 students and several teachers, assistants and one enthusiastic library technician sitting around a beehive yesterday for well over an hour and they were fully engaged, asked amazing questions and I think could have sat for another hour listening to Toby. His knowledge and enthusiasm for educating young people about native bees is infectious and he is a born storyteller and teacher. From his website; Toby is a native bee researcher and commercial native bee keeper with a passion for community engagement and science communication. Since 2013 Toby has been running native bee workshops in schools, driven by a passion to promote an awareness of native bees, pollination, and the importance of biodiversity. (read more here).

As the head of Earth Angels, but also the teacher librarian, I of course need a book or ten to back up anything I do – occupational hazard really, I like to find a book for every occasion. We have a growing collection of bee books in the library but it’s quite hard to find ones which include information on native bees. I have a selection below as well as our fav general bee books – all of which are borrowed regularly for home and classroom use. And a totally non bike related aside? If you’re a lover all things bee? My much loved beehive rings are from Oh My Giddy Aunt (enter code Children’s Books Daily for a free charm with any order) and Toby’s bee socks are from DJ’s – he is on the lookout for native bee socks and my favourite beeswax wraps and beeswax candles and soaps are from Biome (search ‘bee’ for all my favs). 

Purchase any of these bee books by clicking on the title link or cover image. FREE shipping code is SMART until midnight 10/11/2017. 

Rebecca Johnson is one of my favourite Australian authors. She is an award winning  teacher (she recently won the Prime Minister”s Prize for Excellent in teaching Science in Primary Schools) and has a passion for including Science in her engaging books, such as her incredibly successful ‘Juliet Nearly a Vet’ and ‘Vet Cadets’ series. Rebecca has also been writing curriculum aligned non fiction books for many years now and her Steve Parish Insect Story Books series was awarded the 2015 Whitley Award for Best Educational Series. ‘Nifty Native Bees’ is part of this series and I have used it extensively with Kindergarten to Year Four students (reading level 17 but perfect example of a non fiction text for any year level), along with the downloadable worksheets (oh thank you, thank you Rebecca for these!) here.

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Sugarbag Bees is run by entomologist Dr Tim Heard (former CSIRO research scientist) who recently published The Australian Native Bee Book, which is an excellent resource for teachers and adults who are in charge of a hive at school or home. 
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One of my personal favourite general bee books, ‘Flight of the Honeybee’ is part of the excellent, ‘Nature Storybooks’ series by Walker Books.My ecologist neighbour, Dr Sam Lloyd, has reviewed this book in full here and if you are a ‘bee person’ I highly recommend you read her blog post – far more informative than my limited knowledge of bees. xsting_jpg_pagespeed_ic_lcnn16bkw1wingsRaymond Huber also has two chapter books (8-11 years) as seen above. These are fictional stories of Ziggy the honeybee and are engaging, entertaining and educational – hugely popular here at school. Click on covers to read more about them and purchase. 

It seems, to me anyway, quite tricky to find bee books written about Australian bees so this one immediately caught my eye as it is by Sydney based bee keeper, Doug Purdie. ‘The Bee Friendly Garden’ is a guide for all gardeners in encouraging bees and other good bugs to your green space. Includes: – How bees forage and why your garden needs them – A comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants – Simple changes anybody can make – Ideas for gardens of all sizes – Natural pest control and companion planting advice.

‘The Book of Bees’ is by a Polish graphic designer and is not about native bees at all, but oh my glory me it is fascinating and a totally stunning production. This is a bee book for your coffee table – just gorgeous. Lots of great information on how how bees communicate, the history of bees, beekeeping and so much more. This encyclopaedic book imparts masses of information with a light, humorous touch, and in scores of vibrant illustrations. Piotr Socha tracks the history of bees from the age of the dinosaurs to their current plight, examining along the way the role bees have played in history and in the rest of the natural world.

‘How to Bee’ is totally nothing to do with native bees…so please don’t but this thinking it’s a non fiction text on bees! But if you are a ‘bee person’, you’ll greatly enjoy (and possibly be slightly terrfied of) this beautiful book.

Sometimes bees get too big to be up in the branches, sometimes they fall and break their bones. This week both happened and Foreman said, ‘Tomorrow we’ll find two new bees.’

A story about family, loyalty, kindness and bravery, set against an all-too-possible future where climate change has forever changed the way we live. Without a doubt one of my favourite books of 2017 and one of the very few books I have read twice and intend reading again – it is that good.  Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony’s grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe. This is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.

The beautiful native bee poster in the background of photos is by artist Gina Cranson and was purchased from the Qld Museum shop, however I’ve also found her on Etsy and now want to purchase some bee cards! The wooden retro radio was purchased for the library from local business Bear and Sparrow. The bee and flower cupcake toppers were purchased for our bee tea party from Topped – another most excellent local business #notsponsored #shoplocal #eatlocalhoneyEnter ‘Children’s Books Daily’ at checkout with Oh My Giddy Aunt to receive a free sterling silver charm. 

25% off all orders for all of November 2017 with Book Geek! Enter ‘CBD’ for free shipping.

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The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.

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