31 Days: A Hive Grows in Brooklyn
Our local branch library has undergone a bit of a renaissance in the past few months. We’re fortunate to have gained both an excellent children’s librarian and a branch manager with experience as a children’s librarian. One of the simplest changes has been in the quality of books featured on top of the shelves – just like libraries of yore, these new folks actually put some thought into the books that they’re choosing to display. We’re loving it!
One of these new finds is The Honeybee Man, by Lela Nargi, with pictures by Kyrsten Brooker. Ordinarily, I might have passed this up, but that little image of the Brooklyn Bridge on the cover made me wonder. So, I threw it in the library bag and checked it out. This book is a gem! It tells the story of one man who keeps bees in a hive on his rooftop in, you guessed it, Brooklyn.
The storyline was simple enough for my almost-two-year-old to follow, but it still managed to give a decent overview of how bees make honey. In addition, the creators of this story, which is loosely based on real rooftop Brooklyn beekeepers, show how one man’s work affects the community around him. The main character, Fred, treats his bees like honored family members. Equally, he dreams of enjoying the fruits of their labor, and wonders exactly what flavors their travels throughout New York will bring to the honey when he finally gets to enjoy it – and share it with others from his front stoop. The story is a great blend of fiction and non-fiction elements, and would be ideal to use as an introduction to a study of bees, basic agriculture or gardening, or even a simple discussion of ways that animals and humans interact.
Beekeeping is apparently enjoying a resurgence in New York City, having been made legal only in the last few years. Here is a short article about author Lela Nargi, and the man who inspired Fred’s character in the book. The return of “old-fashioned” methods of food production and preparation will probably makes stories like this one less surprising for our children than they are for us, and I, for one, am excited that’s the case.
Want to see what else we’re reading? Just click on the image below.