New #kidlit #Nonfiction Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

For the the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020 we have a new title that is sure to create a buzz, Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann.

If you have any interest in nonfiction picture books or honeybees at all, you need to read this one. Both the text and the illustrations are phenomenal!

The concept is straightforward enough, follow the life of a single adult worker honeybee from emergence from the pupal chamber, starting with:

One summer morning deep in the nest,
a brand-new honeybee
squirms,
pushes,
chews through the wax cap of her solitary cell and into…

Just because the story follows an adult, doesn’t mean that the life cycle is missing stages. The worker becomes a nurse bee and tends to the eggs and larvae, so the full life cycle is represented.

After reading this book, my first reaction was that this is a textbook example of how children’s nonfiction should be written. It is full of active verbs, sensory details, and a lovely thread of repetition (about flying) that keeps the reader turning pages. Plus, following the life of a single bee gives it a relatable and memorable structure.

If readers will find anything objectionable about the book at all, it is that it takes the honeybee’s life right to her end. Her death is sad, but tastefully done. The next spread shows a new worker emerging.

Illustrations in Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera are amazing!

Eric Rohmann’s illustrations knock it out of the ballpark. The detailed close-ups make the reader feel like they are right in the hive with the bees. The gatefold-spread section of the honeybee going on her first flight is beyond breathtaking.

The backmatter includes a guide to honeybee anatomy, a section about helping honeybees, and more facts about honeybees.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera is the ultimate book about these fascinating and important creatures. You don’t want to miss this one!

Related Activities

Fly over to Growing With Science Blog for honey bee STEAM activities (link will be added soon)

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (February 4, 2020)
ISBN-10: 0823442853
ISBN-13: 978-0823442850

Disclosure: The book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

STEM Friday #Kidlit Buzzing With Questions

Entomologist and teacher Charles Henry Turner passed away 97 years ago today on February 14, 1923, so it seems appropriate to highlight the picture book biography Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.

Driven by a fascination with living things, Charles Henry Turner defied the odds and went to college. He kept asking questions and working hard. In 1907 he earned his PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude. After graduating, Turner worked at several different teaching positions while continuing to research and publish. He made many lasting contributions to the field of insect behavior, as well as being known for helping others.

Author Janice Harrington does a great job of weaving repeating threads through the text, like the fact that Turner loved books, “never stopped asking questions” and that he was “indefatigable.” Those are wonderful take away messages.

Turner’s message about studying biology to help people see connections between all living things is particularly poignant.

“Biology taught us to think less about ourselves and more about others.”

As for STEM, this book is important because it reveals the inner working of how Turner set up experiments to answer questions that he had. For example, he trained honey bees to come to red platforms and when he offered blue, the bees ignored them. Thus, he established honey bees can see color. Children are often taught the result of experiments, but aren’t exposed to the experimental process as much.

Buzzing with Questions is an obvious choice for budding entomologists and to share for Black History Month, but its message of hope and persistence in the face of adversity will also resonate with a wide range of readers. Celebrate Turner’s love of books by sharing a copy today.

A NSTA/CBC Best STEM Book

 

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Calkins Creek (November 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1629795585
ISBN-13: 978-1629795584

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 1/2019.

Looking for New #Kidlit? Check #SteamTeam2020

If you are on Twitter, you might have seen the hashtag #SteamTeam2020 and wondered what it was.

We are a group of authors with Science Technology Engineering Art and Math children’s books in a mix of genres that are coming out in the year 2020.

Check the website for much more information.

We have STEAM books for everyone, ranging from:

Rhyming picture books that beg to be read aloud

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring by Buffy Silverman, Millbrook Press TM (Published February 4, 2020)

Can’t wait to use this one for STEM Story Time.

Nonfiction picture book biographies

Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane by Kirsten W. Larson and illustrated by Tracy Subisak, Calkins Creek (publishing February 25, 2020)

Middle grade nonfiction books with hands-on activities

Amazing Amphibians: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and More by Lisa J. Amstutz (Chicago Review Press; First edition (published January 7, 2020)

Middle Grade Fiction

Chirp by Kate Messner, Bloomsbury Children’s Books (Published February 4, 2020)

and more. What an amazing assortment!

Expect more announcements and reviews over the upcoming year.

 

Have you seen any of these books yet? What genre(s) are you interested in?

#Nonfiction Monday and #NFFEST: The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon

Today we have a nonfiction picture book biography that is out of this world, The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean by  Dean Robbins and illustrated by Sean Rubin.

Pete Conrad and Alan Bean were the third and fourth people to walk on the moon, but they aren’t the household names their predecessors Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are. This picture book helps correct that omission and bring Alan Bean’s story to the next generation of readers.

Dean Robbins doesn’t present Alan Bean’s life in strict chronological order. Instead he captures the reader’s imagination with the tension of the spacecraft launching, then interrupts the flight and goes back in time to Alan’s childhood interest in model airplanes, and later in painting as a hobby.  The back story helps readers understand how Bean began painting again after he retired and why he considered himself to be an artist.

As to be expected, the illustrations are amazing. They combine the look of Alan Bean’s art with Sean Rubin’s skillful images. The highlight is a wordless two-page spread of the surface of the moon with the shadows of the two astronauts in the foreground and the blue, spherical Earth in the distance. Wow!

Check out the trailer to see what I mean:


Isn’t it cool that Dean Robbins knew and worked with Alan Bean, who helped to to create the book? That personal knowledge and access adds such depth.

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon will thrill budding astronauts and artists alike. Be inspired by a copy today!

Related activities:

Check out the activity suggestions on Dean Robbins website (scroll to half way down the page).

 

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Orchard Books (May 28, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1338259539
ISBN-13: 978-1338259537

Disclosure: The book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

For an assignment  at NF Fest

Also part of reading for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020

As well as Nonfiction Monday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.