If you’ve read through many of my book lists for kids, you know that there are several topics that we learn about each year in our homeschool. That often involves reading the same books year after year, which is a treat for our family!
We haven’t studied bees in a couple of years, so we are doing a very small unit study on bees because we all find them so fascinating.
I believe that a good unit study starts with the selection of rich literature. Choosing the books we will read is always my favorite part! In fact, I sometimes plan too many books (if there is such a thing!), because it’s often hard to narrow down the choices.
Once again, I found it difficult to narrow down our reading selections for books about bees. As my girls grow older, I can assign the books we’re unable to read together as a family as independent reading.
→ Need help in planning a unit study? Don’t miss my step-by-step video on planning a simple unit study! This particular video is geared towards the Preschool to 2nd Grade age range, but you can take the ideas and adapt them to any age.
Favorite Books About Bees
As with all of my book lists, I have read these books myself so I can personally recommend them. I’ve noted the books at the end of the post that are on our reading list for this year, which I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading.
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Because I consider excellent literature an investment in my children, we’ve purchased many of these books about bees. The others, we check out often from our local library.
The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons
Most of my book lists have at least one Gail Gibbons book because she never disappoints! Her non-fiction text is easy to understand in bite-size chunks, just right for the Kindergarten to 3rd grade (and even 4th) grade crowd.
This book is packed with bee terminology and takes a fascinating look at beekeepers and the ins and outs of a bee hive.
Note: This book references evolution.
The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci
If I were to choose only two books for a bee unit study for elementary age students, it would be The Life and Times of the Honeybee and What if There Were No Bees? (shown below). These are fascinating reads!
In my previous bee unit studies, we’ve read just sections of this book at the time, as it’s divided into topical selections. You’ll find information on keeping bees, how people have used bees and honey throughout history (a favorite of ours!), the queen and worker bees, bee reproduction, vocabulary related to bees, and tons more.
Since I have older readers this year (3rd and 5th grades), they will each read this book independently, along with a few others.
What if There Were No Bees? by Suzanne Slade
This is another must-read book for a bee unit study!
If you’ve yet to introduce your children to ecosystems, the grasslands are a wonderful place to start. What if There Were No Bees? shows a detailed look at what would happen if bees no longer existed in the grassland habitat.
As you turn each page, you become increasingly aware of how vital bees are to our world!
My girls don’t remember this book very well, so prior to reading it, we will do a brainstorming activity about the bee population. On our big white board, we’ll list all of the many ways we think bees contribute to our ecosystem. After we’re through, we will read the book together and add to our list. We love working on projects like this together!
The Magic School Bus: Inside a Beehive by Joanna Cole
Mrs. Frizzle is always a fun and informative read! My oldest daughter (5th grade) isn’t so much a fan of The Magic School Bus series any longer, so I’ll read this with my 1st and 3rd grade girls.
In usual fashion, Mrs. Frizzle drives her “bee” into a hive to see it from the most basic level. The series is also on Netflix right now, so I’ll let them watch this episode there as well.
The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
Oh Patricia Polacco is a favorite of mine!
Side note: If you haven’t read The Blessing Cup, you must go reserve it at your library today! Take a look at this post on The Blessing Cup and ideas for reading it with your children.
The Bee Tree is a lovely fictional book about a grandfather teaching his granddaughter to find a bee tree and all of the events that take place in that process. They chase a bee through meadows and down the lane, while meeting folks along the way.
→ Download a set of Bee Life Cycle Worksheets!
New to Us Books About Bees
While I’ve ordered these new-to-us books about bees, I’ve yet to read them. Because I don’t recommend books I haven’t read (I personally like real reviews and recommendations!), use your own discretion when reading these with your kiddos.
I spend hours doing book research for our unit studies, and I’m excited to add these to our list this year!
Amazing Bees by Sue Unstead
While I’m not a fan of all DK books, I like this particular series with its vibrant photographs. Because my 1st grader is slower to learn how to read, we will enjoy this book together, with her reading portions aloud as she’s able.
I will also pull a few copywork sentences from this book for her to practice.
Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha
I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! From the pictures shown on Amazon, it looks to be illustration-rich and slightly text heavy. A good combo, in my opinion!
We will use this one as we read aloud about bees and their history. Bees + a history lesson = the ideal book for my kiddos!
The Bee Book by DK and Emma Tennant
My 5th grader will read portions of The Bee Book independently to research a topic that interests her. She can choose to write a small research paper (2-3 strong paragraphs) on a particular type of bee, how to set up a hive and attract bees, or making beeswax candles.
Note: This book references evolution.
What are your favorite books for learning about bees?
Leave your favorites in the comments below! There are so many wonderful selections from which to choose!