We love the bees! And these famous creatures have songs, sayings, and even stories about them. Bees are amazing; aside from honey and stings, they are also one of our major pollinators, making them an essential part of the food chain. Whether you or your kids are budding biologists or just want to learn more, books about bees abound.
There are so many bee books out there, so to make your selection easier, we have put together a list of 20 of the best books about bees.
Read on for a selection of books about bees you can buy, or for more info, a click away, check our bee facts. You might not also know that there are over 20,000 bee species, which we cover in more detail in our article on the different types of bees.
10 Books about bees for young children
These books about bees are perfect for kids from 2 to 12 years of age.
1. The Honeybee by Kristen Hall
This beautifully written picture book is one of the top books about bees for kids. It follows a colony of honeybees as they go about their daily lives. From how they fly around to collect pollen and nectar to make honey.
The readers follow the bees through the changing seasons and see how honeybees survive in winter. The story is short but has a lot of discussion points. Also, there’s a page that addresses questions like what the earth would be like without honeybees.
2. The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive by Joanna Cole
In this book, the kids take a magical ride in the world of honey bees. They learn all about how bees find food, talk to one another, make honey and run their society. The children get to learn about how bees grow and learn about the queen bee. At one point, there is even a honey-hungry bear chase.
This bee book has so many interesting facts about bees highlighted outside the story. Young bee lovers will get a rich bee education from this Magic Bus trip.
3. The Very Greedy Bee by Steve Smallman
Bee books can teach your child life lessons and encourage them to be a friend of the earth. Illustrated by Jack Tickle, this book presents the lesson of kindness and sharing.
In this story, we follow a certain honey bee who does not like to share his food or do any work in the hive. After greedily feasting alone one day, he falls asleep and awakens at night alone, afraid, and too full to fly. Fortunately, he is helped by some insects and gets home, having learned not to be so selfish anymore.
4. The Hive Detectives by Loree Griffin Burns
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is where bees disappear from their hives without a trace or apparent cause. It was beekeeper Dave Hackenburg's loss of 20 million honeybees from his apiary that was the first recorded CCD incident.
The writer gives a fascinating account of the investigation of this mysterious phenomenon. She shares what she learns from bee wranglers and bee scientists working to understand and solve the problem. The book contains photographs by Eliie Harasimowicz that make it a visual treat.
5. Bee & Me by Alison Jay
There are no words in this bee book. However, the illustrations clearly tell a story of how a young girl in the city makes friends with a bee. She and her bee friend have all sorts of adventures and explore the natural world together.
The absence of words may be a challenge for reading aloud, but it leaves great potential for some imaginative storytelling. Children will have fun figuring out what is happening on each page.
6. Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton
Many children grow up greatly misunderstanding bees and not knowing how important they are to human survival. This is an excellent book for kids who don't like bees to learn about these important pollinators. They'll learn to appreciate bees and even become bee advocates.
As simply as possible, Barton explains with words and illustrations concepts like types of bees, honey bee types, and honey production. She even talks about beekeeping and why bees sting.
7. The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner
If your children are interested in bees and other insects, non-fiction bee books like The Bee Book will make a satisfying read. This book presents scientific bee facts and some bee history in a documentary-like manner. It also discusses environmental issues facing bees, whether bees are endangered, and how everyone can help.
This book is beautifully illustrated and written in a way that makes for an engaging read. There are pictures of different bee species, the honey bee anatomy, domestic hives, and so much more.
8. Please Please the Bees by Geral Kelly
In this awesome bee book, a bear is surprised to find the bees in his yard have gone on strike - because he hadn't paid attention to their needs and only cared about the delicious honey they provided.
Benedict, the bear, learns an important lesson of not taking the bees that produce his beloved honey for granted. The story teaches children not to take nature for granted but to take care of it. The illustrations are great, there are few words, and the story is short but interesting.
9. The Bee Bully by Angela Muse
A grumpy little bee lived alone and stung the other animals in the garden just because he could. One day, he is captured in a glass jar, and while fearing for his life, he reflects on how mean he has been. Fortunately, he is set free and uses his second chance to make amends for his earlier wrongs.
The story is concise and will be easy to read for children who are just learning to read. Rhyming words at the end of the sentences add a poetic element.
10. The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
Mary Ellen gets bored of reading and wants to go outdoors, so her Grandpa takes her on a hunt for a bee hive. Some other villagers join as they run through the countryside after the honey bees. The bee hunting is successful, but the story doesn't end until Grandpa teaches Mary that running through the pages of a book can be as exciting as running outdoors for adventure.
Reading can be quite an adventure, and that's the lesson this bee book teaches. The illustrations are quite artsy but clear.
10 Books about bees for teens and adults
Below are books about bees for teens and adults.
11. Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities by Luke Dixon
Bees have provided us with so much wholesome food. With this in mind, this book is for the intending urban beekeeper who wants to set up a legal, safe, and neighbor-friendly apiary. Dixon, a professional beekeeper in London, shares his years of experience in this book. He teaches everything that you would need to start up and maintain healthy colonies despite the constraints of urban environments.
The book also has tips for bee-friendly gardening, so it's a good read, even if you don't want to be a beekeeper. The book's last chapter contains profiles of beekeepers from different parts of the world.
12. Sweetness and Light by Hattie Ellis
Bees have been around for a long time and have economic, social, and scientific significance in our world. This book teaches you much about beekeeping history, like how ancient Egyptians were the first known beekeepers, and into the modern day.
The writer begins with basic bee biology, their society, and different bee species found across the world, such as the miner bees that dig up to 16 feet. The book delves into how early humans and other animals came to like honey. It traces the relationship between humans and bees from the Stone Age through the Middle Ages and up to the modern day.
13. The Beekeeper’s Lament by Hannah Nordhaus
American agriculture depends on pollinators like bees, and with most wild bees killed off by infestations, it is up to domestic bees to do the job. This book introduces readers to a beekeeper, John Miller, and his half-a-billion honey bees. He and his bees travel between North Dakota and California, pollinating almond orchards.
The bittersweet story tells of how one man and his love for this industrious insect forge ahead in the face of Colony Collapse Disorder, bee thieves, hive infestation by varroa mites and wax moths, etc. This is a great book and a well-written exploration of the challenges of commercial beekeeping in today's world.
14. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The story opens with a young white girl, Lilly, the protagonist, who lives with her abusive dad and finds bees in her bedroom. After her Black nanny, Rosaleen, gets arrested for an altercation with three white men, they leave town. They find themselves at the Boatwright residence. Lily learns beekeeping, faces her tragic past, and stands up to her father.
They adapted the critically acclaimed novel into a movie in 2008.
15. A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings by Helen Jukes
In this poignant memoir, Helen Jukes recounts how she found her home with her bees. Formerly, Jukes lived a rootless life that was unsatisfying for her as she longed for something permanent without feeling trapped. While living in Oxford, she ventures into the world of urban beekeeping, learning so much about bee culture and history and becoming a part of a beekeeper's community.
The book is not so much about bees or being a beekeeper as it is about self-discovery in tandem with nature.
16. Buzz by Thor Hanson
Buzz explores bees' cultural and natural history, going as far back as 125 million years ago when a wasp began to feed pollen to its young. You'll learn so much about bees' roles in nature, human development, and mythology. Like most non-fiction books, this exploration of bees focuses on the importance of these essential pollinators and discusses Colony Collapse Disorder and possible solutions.
Hanson's enthusiasm for nature is reflected in Buzz. Surprisingly, the book is relatively short for how in-depth it goes.
17. Bee Journal by Sean Borodale
If you enjoy poetry, then you'll love this recommendation. The poems are originally entries in Borodale's beekeeping journal. He writes them donned in his beekeeper gear as he observes the bee colony. The poems chronicle a year in the hive and the events impacting the native pollinators.
Several reviews point out that the poems are more observant than reflective. Also, one would most likely have beekeeping experience to relate to the Bee Journal.
18. Bee by Claire Preston
Did you know that it wasn't until the 1700s that humans understood that bees made honey from nectar? Until then, it was assumed that bees extracted readymade honey from flowers. This book follows the discoveries that led to the understanding of bees that we have today and how they harvest honey.
The book is engaging and contains bee anecdotes, fables, images, and bee facts.
19. A Sting in The Tale by Dave Goulson
Bumblebees are important pollinators, but because they don’t produce honey, less attention is paid to them. Many books about bees focus on the honey bee, but if you are ready to learn about bumblebees, this book provides a perfect introduction. It also provides a lot of laughs as the author uses humor generously.
Goulson, the founder of the UK’s Bumblebee Conservation Trust, is a bumblebee expert and has much to share in this book. It might inspire you to take up gardening and plant some bumblebee-friendly flowers.
20. The Bees in Your Backyard by Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril
A field guide to North America’s bees, this book introduces readers to the 4,000 species of bees living in Canada and the United States. You may have seen any of these bees in your backyard and not recognized them. There are over 900 photos of bees in this book and advice on attracting bees to your own backyard garden.
We created this list of books about bees for bee lovers of all ages. Whether you’re interested in beekeeping, bee conservation, or just curious about their social and natural history, you’ll find books to learn from on this list.