How to Bee by Bren Mac Dibble.


Have you ever wondered about what life would look like if there were only a small amount of bees left in the world?

This is a very real problem and one book that made me shudder with the possibility of being real.

Meet tough, smart and vibrant Peony, an ten year old farm girl who works in the Goulburn Valley of NSW, Australia. Peony works hard on the farm, manually removing bugs from crops as pesticides have been banned – however becoming a Bee is what she dreams of. Being a Bee is one of the most important roles in this futuristic society as the young and nimble need to do the job the bees once did – pollinating flowers.

Peony lives with her grandfather and sister but the community around them and the bond they all have is amazing and something to aspire due despite the poverty they live in. Peony’s mother wants more than farm life and takes Peony off to the city to earn real money. Despite her utter dislike for city life, huge disparity being rich and poor and still the utter disregard for the hard work of farmers, Peony learns about the importance of friendship, family and kind acts.

How to Bee brought a tear to my eye and although it may seem like a bleak outlook from the start it shows how strong the human spirit is and the need we all have to belong and live in harmony.

Perhaps if the big supermarkets and chemical companies read this story they would start to change how they see the world and start to think more about the impact we are having on the future.

There are some areas of the world where this form of pollination is already happening today – I’m not sure if we want this to spread to all areas of the world. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/humans-bees-china_us_570404b3e4b083f5c6092ba9?section=australia

So what can you do?

Bee and Me

The Book of Bees

Bee

Oxfam Shop

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Secret world of butterflies by Courtney Sina Meredith and Giselle Clarkson

Butterflies have always amazed me with their beautiful colours but there is so much more to them than meets the eye.

The Secret world of butterflies by Courtney Sina Meredith and Giselle Clarkson is a burst of colour filled with facts about tastebuds, poo, flight and eating habits.

Not only is this book filled with facts, it is also filled with rhyming couplets and detailed drawings to grab the attention of any young entomologist.

You’ll learn so much about butterflies, illustration techniques and rhyme that this book will be devoured again and again!

And perhaps you will be inspired to take a slower and closer look outside just to see the beauty that constantly flies among us.

Cicada by Shaun Tan

Another brilliant book by Shaun Tan – Cicada is a book with subtext for both older children and adults but with illustrations that young children will enjoy too.

Cicada is a story about a cicada who works in a dreary office building, performing the same task day in, day out with no recognition or appreciation of the effort he puts in.

Cicada is treated poorly, ignored by colleagues and constantly calls out ‘Tok, Tok, Tok”, which could represent the noise of a keyboard, the clicking of a clock, the noise cicadas make or perhaps even the monotone thoughts of the office workers. Whatever you take it to mean, it shows the bland existence of humans and this cicada.

But all this changes on Cicada’s last day of work, where instead of having a farewell party or a thank you handshake he simply packs up his desk and ascends the stairs.

The stairs to say farewell to this greyscale existence.

The stairs to something much more wonderful, so much so that the cicada wonders why the humans haven’t worked it out yet.

I won’t spoil it here – you’ll have to read it yourself!

So what else can you do with this book at home and at school?

Younger readers.

Younger readers may not see the subtext of this book but other issues can be explored such as:

– Explore the life cycle of a cicada and the time the spent underground compared to the time above.

– Think about what you would do if you had to live in a world without colour, creativity or fun. How would you feel?

– What does ‘Tok, Tok, Tok” mean to you? What sound would you make if you worked in a world like this?

Why do the humans think he is worse than them? Why do they ignore him or make him go to the toilet out of the building (this can be linked to some women’s prejudice issues of the past).

Why do you think the cicada never left his job?

– What is the importance of getting out into the world around us and exploring more than just making money?

– Why do we need nature? Why do we need to explore?

– Is money really that important? (Big idea – take time to discuss this)

And here are some more in depth ideas if you wish to study this book for older readers:

Notes from Hachette, click here.  

Join my facebook group – growing globally and socially conscious children to swap ideas to help young children tackle the big issues!

Global Guardian Project: Protect our bees

I love bees and was very excited when I came across this module written by Global Guardian Project – Protect our bees.

The module is full of colour and facts and really engaged my children (6 and 3)

We learnt about a young girl who helps her family to make honey, we learnt about the anatomy of a bee and we learnt how important they are to us.

We grabbed all our bee books out and shared a few stories over the week (check them out here —-

Bee and Me

The Book of Bees

How to Bee

Being a Bee

And then we read the suggestion in the e-capsule to get outside so we decided – let’s go on a bee hunt! Armed with the knowledge we had learnt from the e-capsule we knew what to look for and where to look for it.

We wrote down which bees we thought we might find and went hunting so we could record the numbers.

As we wandered around our garden we discovered three types of bees, worked out where they liked to be and talked about why they went where they did.

We then drew some maps, coloured in the bee from the e-capsule and talked about how we can get more bees into our garden.

This e-capsule is inspiring and enlightening – without bees we would not have many of the fruit and vegetables we eat every day.

The Global Guardian Project is an inspiring group to join and one for children of all ages.

Head over to The Global Guardian Project page and quote GGPVanessa for a 10% discount.

Follow on Instagram and Facebook for inspiring ideas daily!

Being a bee by Jinny Johnson and Lucy Davey

Discover the secret life of bees from queens to the waggle dance, hives and honey. 

Have you ever wondered about how your flowers grow so brightly or perhaps how tomatoes grow so rapidly or even how weeds seem to appear all over your garden without the slightest hint of a breeze?


Well, wonder no more – Being a bee by Jinny Johnson and Lucy Davey explains the many facets of a bee through simple explanation and colourful illustrations.

In this lively book  children will love learning about bees. They will be introduced to the delightful queen bee and then shown how the babies are fed and grown in the hive alongside where honey is kept for safekeeping.

We learn how and why bees to a waggle dance and how important it is for them to work together as a team.

The section on beekeeping was eye opening and helped us to really appreciate the tub of honey we have sitting in our cupboard.

The flat design illustrations abound with green and yellow and flashes of colourful flowers – which without bees would be no more.

Being a bee is a great way to introduce your young reader to the importance of bees and the valuable role they play in our society.  There is a lot of news in the media at the moment about the need to bring bees back.

So what can you do at home or at school with this book?

Sustainability

  • Have a look around your home and see what would entice any type of insect to your area? all insects are beneficial and attracting them to something they can live off or eat is important. It’s better they live off the plants than things in your house!
  • PROJECT: How can we provide the best home for attracting bees? Investigate what the bees (local to your area) need. Draw up a plan of what the hive would look like, where it should be placed, what conditions it needs to attract bees and to survive. (This project includes outcome links to mathematics, literacy, science and geography)
  •  Herbs are an easy plant to start with as they can be grown in small planter boxes on windowsills – give rosemary, thyme or mint a go.
  • It is important that you find out about the beneficial flowers that help bees in your area too. Australian stingless bees love:

 

Abelia x grandiflora Abelia
Buddleja * Butterfly Bush
Callistemon  Bottlebrush
Eucalyptus  Gum Blossom
Grevillea Spider Flower
Lavandula Lavender
Leptospermum Tea Tree
Melaleuca Honey Myrtle
Westringia Rosemary
Many Varieties Daisies

Literacy

  • Find some more books that have bees in them – you’ll bee surprised! Do these stories all have a similar message to tell?
  • Compare scientific literature to children books that are on the topic of bees. Why do we need both types of literature out there to understand the need for bees in our world? Create your own bee themed picture book based on some scientific literature.
  • Create your own story about your adventure with a bee. Which flowers would you like to visit? Divide a page into four sections and draw a series of pictures that show what you would like to do with a bee to make sure there are enough flowers, fruits and vegetables in the world.

SCIENCE

How is honey used in our lives apart from to eat? Investigate the different properties of honey and how it is used in a myriad of products!

GEOGRAPHY

Where are bees located? What type of environment do they need to thrive? Create a honey bee and a stingless bee map of Australia.

NUMERACY

Why are honey bee hives made out of hexagonal shapes?

Why do stingless bee hives spiral shaped?

Investigate the different shapes of bee hives across the globe and why they are this shape. Could they be another shape? Investigate if there is a better way to keep honey in a hive.

https://www.hachette.com.au/jinny-johnson/being-a-bee

 

Dungzilla by James Foley

Now you’ve got me thinking Sal…why don’t you use a bunch of Dung Beetles to clean Joe’s nappies? 

Ah, the friendly Dung Beetle – how I wish I could employ a couple of these poo lovers to clean out our nappy bucket so I didn’t have to deal with the washing of poo and wee on a weekly basis. But the risks of the Dung Beetle turning into a Dungzilla are real in our scientific household so for now….I’ll just keep my gloves on.


Dungzilla by James Foley is a highly entertaining graphic novel about a young girl – Sally Tinker (Formerly of Brobot) who is the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve. In this story she has invented a resizenator and whilst trying it out on a humble slice of pizza she accidentally hits her friends pet Dung Beetle. And you can only imagine what a giant Dung Beetle might get up to.

The humour entwined with adventure make this story one which you can’t put down. The comic style story allows younger readers to follow along with more enthusiasm as they can see the characters and gain more insight into how they are feeling and acting as each scenario unfolds.

James Foley has also included some great facts about the Dung Beetle within the story which we loved reading and inspired some extra research on this scat loving creature. We even learnt some extra words that also mean poo as we read along and some ideas on how we can create our own resizenator.

Dungzilla, filled with humour, action and great illustrations is a must read book for younger readers and those who are just starting to read on their own. But why Dungzilla on a blog about sustainability you ask – well building awareness of the small creatures in our world is just as important as awareness about the big ones.

Without Dung Beetles our world would be a lot stinkier, filled with more methane and germier.

Dung Beetles are endangered in some areas of the world due to loss of habitat, land being over farmed, more chemicals on the land and poorer quality poo due to poorer food sources.

Check out these links:

Why we need Dung Beetles

Feral animals endangering the Dung Beetle

So what can you do at home?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Go on an insect hunt and find out which insects live in your neighbourhood. Is there a way you can attract more beneficial insects to your backyard or local park?
  • What is a Dung Beetle? Find out some more facts and history about the humble Dung lover.
  • Why do we need insects? What might our world look like if we didn’t have beetles and bugs?

LITERACY

  • Create your own comic strip about a science invention that doesn’t work out as planned.
  • Look at how James Foley uses comic strips to create suspense and humour. How can you add that to your own creation?

EXTRA TEACHING NOTES HERE: Fremantle Press

LOTS. The diversity of life on Earth by Nicola Davies.

LOTS. The diversity of life on Earth by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton is a creative, eye catching non -fiction picture book that conveys the message of the amazing diversity of life we have on our planet Earth.

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Nicola Davies invites us to look everywhere and when we do we will find so many different types of life.  Through magical storytelling the reader finds out small facts about different creatures, how they live, how many species there are and where they hide. Emily Sutton illustrates with care, bringing the natural world into focus and helping us to se the intricate details of each animal, plant and insect.

LOTS is a great book to ignite your child’s interest in animals and perhaps a future in animal and habitat conservation.

LOTS is a gentle way to teach children about the importance of all life forms and how we all play a role in caring for them.

An informative and entertaining book, LOTS is one for the science lesson, literacy lesson and just the quiet book before bed.

So what can you do with this book? 

Before you read – write down three things you know about life on earth.

After you read – write down two facts you learnt. Write down two things you would like to know more about. Write down two ways you are going to help make sure no more animals become extinct.

Animal conservation

  •  read about an animal in this book who has become extinct. Work out why they became extinct and actions that may have saved them.
  • List and group all of the different animals in this story. How many groups of animals are there?
  • Look at the page on food/life cycles – can you investigate other animals and how they link in with each other for food and life?
  • Donate money to an organisation or do some volunteer work that would help restore habitats for animals.

Use this book as a springboard to help your child to be aware that everything they do makes an impact. Every piece of rubbish, every flick of a light switch and every trip in the car impacts another.

How can you make a difference as a family? 

 

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The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha

I love bees and this book is a wonderful resource to teach adults and children about the history, science and importance of bees in our lives.

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The book of bees by Piotr Socha is a  book can be read word for word or can be enjoyed by just perusing through the pictures and short stories.

Bees are such an important part of human activity and I don’t think people really understand the importance of bees in our everyday lives.

Exposing children to these books allow for us to have conversations about important issues and how we can make small differences in our lives to ensure that creatures such as bees are cared for.

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha outlines the history of human interaction with bees, the important role honey has played in our lives and the different types of bees and hives there are in the world.

The science behind hives is explored along with the make up of the colony.

The illustrations add detail and humour to the facts and the end papers are beautiful!

If you ever see this book – grab a copy and share it with a small person in your life, not only will they learn more about these tiny insects that many of us are scared of but they will also realise how life as we know it will not survive if we continue to use pesticides, deplete green spaces and introduce pests.

So how do you encourage your child to appreciate bees?

– Walk outside and look at flowers – are there any insects inside the flowers? Keep an insect diary.

– Look at the bee diagram and draw your own bees, differentiating between the queen, drone and workers.

– Open your cupboard and fridge and write down what wouldn’t be in the fridge if bees didn’t exist.

– Draw up a timeline of human bee interaction.

– Make your own bee hive or beneficial insect home and place it in your backyard, balcony or local park. Keep an eye on it for visiting bugs!

– Check where your honey is from – make sure it is locally made. Local means less pesticides.

Buy your own native bee hive – we have one and we love it. 

Millie Loves Ants by Jackie French and Sue deGennaro

Is there any where in the world that functions like an ant colony?

 

My friend Millie just loves ants.

Mille Loves Ants by Jackie French and Sue deGennaro is a sweet story about a little girl who is intrigued by a delightful echidna and those little insects who creep in and out of our houses on a daily basis.

This is my pre release copy:

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Millie is a spiky bush friend who adores ants and tracks them wherever they go – even if that means going under the bath, into the kitchen, in hollow trees and on the bed!

In Mille loves ants, We see the power of children and their desire to explore their world and expand their knowledge. We also see the ability of children to be able to sit and watch, living side by side with native animals and insects, knowing that without them and the things they do, we would not exist in the way we currently do.

Sue deGennaro’s illustrations have been drawn in soft pastel shades and add to the warm and fuzzy feeling the reader will feel whilst they are reading this story.

The underlying messages of this story are beautiful – a mother echidna caring for her puggle and the importance of ants to our living environment. Both messages are ones which all children need to read about in order to deepen their appreciation of the natural world.

So what can you do with this book? 

 

SUSTAINABILITY

  •  Go on an ant hunt! Where do they ants live around your house and outside area? Watch where they go, what they are carrying and where they live.
  •  Where do Echidna’s live in Australia?
  • Although not all breeds of Echidna’s are endangered, some are and although they are a protected species, their habitat is not. Find out about breeding programs and conservation for echidna’s.
  • How do ants make the soil healthy?
  • What are the different roles of ants – soldier ants, queen ants , drones and worker ants? Draw up your own ant colony with labels.
  • PROJECT: Are ants the smartest insects? Compare different insects and try to come up with the winner!
  • PROJECT: What are your local ants favourite food? Do different ants like different types of food?
  • Check this out: http://www.schoolofants.net.au

LITERACY

  • Rhyme plays a role in this story. Which words rhyme in this story? What else rhymes with ants?

NUMERACY

  • Calculate how many ants might be in your backyard by working out how may are in 10cm2 and multiply it!

 

Bee by Patricia Hegarty and Britta Teckentrup.

What is your definition of community? Do bee’s fall into this category? 

Categorise at least 20 different insects into how they help the natural environment. 

What came first….the flower or the bee? 

image1

Photo courtesy of http://www.readingisourthing.com/portfolio/bee-patricia-hegarty-and-britta-teckentrup/ 

Bee’s are the forgotten insect that we would be lost without. We love their honey, their pollination skills and their fuzzy little bodies!

Patricia Hegarty writes in rhyme as she introduces the importance of bees in many different environmental settings. These rhymes are brought to life through Britta Teckentrup’s brightly coloured and textured illustrations.

As you travel through the story with the bee, we discover the many different parts to the small environments that bees need to visit as part of their daily life. Children can see how bees work with each other to find the best nectar and can peep through hexagonal cut outs as the bee travels from page to page. There are also hidden animals within each page which allow you to have small conversations with your child about the ecology of each small environment!

So how can we link this story to informing our children about the importance of bees?

Sustainability

  • Get your own bee hive! Perhaps this is not possible for everyone due to the environment you live in or the space you have but it is worth looking into. We have our own stingless bee hive as we live in Sydney. It is wonderful to see them buzzing around on days that are over 22 degrees, foraging for food all over our garden. They are small little insects but work so efficiently! The native stingless bees do not provide as much honey as the european bee but in about 6 months we should have some to share! Exciting!
  • Which plants rely on bees to be pollinated? Which plants rely on wind?
  • Is beekeeping sustainable? Should we be keeping honey bees in Ausrtalia or rely more on the native stingless bee? (The use and management of natural resourcesand waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)
  • Explore the bee populations of the world. Use tables to gather this information. IS there a decline in the bee population? If there is, what is causing this problem? What can we do?

SCIENCE

  • Many bees in the wild are being effected by pesticides. Explore the alternatives to using pesticides in your garden.
  • Go on an insect hunt. Spend some time outside recording the different types of insects that are alive in a specified area. Create a graph to record the data.
  • Which flowers do bees like to gather pollen from? Explore your local area to see which flowers the bees in your area love. Perhaps you can plant some bee attractive flowers?

Mathematics

  • Explore the patterns in bee hives! (Link to Geometry/2d and 3d shape in numeracy strand) 
  • Explore the Fibonacci sequence in flowers and plants. You will be amazed at how mathematical nature is!

Geography

  • Research the different species of bees in your country. Where do they live, how far do they forage from there hive?
  • Where can honeybees live in your country? Where can native bees live? What sort of temperature, terrain and conditions do they need?

History

  • Explore the history of european beekeeping(The role that a significant individual or group played in shaping a colony (ACHASSK110)
  • How was beekeeping influenced the food economy in your country?

Creative arts

  • Create your own bee dance.
  • Create a poem using the pictures in the story.
  • Create your own recipe which requires honey as a key ingredient.

 

I’d like to thank http://www.readingisourthing.com/portfolio/bee-patricia-hegarty-and-britta-teckentrup/ for sharing this book and image with me! Please visit them on Instagram at @readingisourthing 

Mechanica: A beginner’s field Guide by Lance Baldachin.

How would our planet look if insects did not exist?

Can butterflies be beautiful and brutal?  

Are drones a necessary evil? 

mech

Mechanica: A beginner’s field guide by Lance Baldachin is a picture book for those who love the earth but wonder what is to become of it if we keep treating it the way we do.

It is circa 2250 and the earth is devoid of any natural life due to human destruction and consumption. However, mechanical creatures have been made to replace what was lost – though these are not always as kind as they look!

This very impressive picture book with detailed diagrams of futuristic insects, small animals and birds captured my attention immediately.

Children will love reading the details about each creature and looking at the intricate designs Lance has included.

There is a glimmer of hope in the Addendum – perhaps nature will always fight us and our consuming ways.

How can you use this book at home or in the classroom?

Science

  • With every animal in the story try to compare and contrast it to a real animal in your own country (if possible) (Links in to higher order thinking skills)
  • Choose any insect in our world and explore how that insect helps us to grow food, keep soil healthy or rid waste.
  • Create your own Mechanica creature. Give it a new name. Outline the details similar to Lance Baldachin descriptions.
  • Create the life cycle for these Mechanica. How is their life cycle altered when they turn bad?
  • What are drones? Explore the history of drones and wonder if we really need them….

Geography

  • Using a world map find out where these futuristic creatures live. Ask why they might live in these regions and not others.
  • What sort of Mechanica could live in your home town?

Literacy

  • Write a journal from the perspective of Miss Liberty Crisp. Outline her journey through the Orient, her experiences in Saraswati and her excursion to the National History Museum.
  • Write a persuasive outlining to others the importance of starting to take care of the world we live in. Present this in a TV advert – make it catchy, straight to the point yet entertaining.

Art

  • Create your own mechanics using recycled materials. Find old nails, bolts, cutlery etc. Not only are you creating something from waste but you are also alerting children on how much waste we do create!

 

Welcome to future Earth.
Despite repeated warnings, the environment has become polluted to such an extent that many areas of the globe have become uninhabitable, and wildlife is now extinct.
From the ashes, a new style of ‘wildlife’ is created. Wildlife that will not remain harnessed by humankind.

Welcome to the world of Mechanica.

Back Cover: Mechanica – Lance Balchin