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KAIA AND THE BEES by Maribeth Boelts


by Maribeth Boelts ; illustrated by Angela Dominguez

Pub Date: March 10th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5362-0105-5
Publisher: Candlewick

A young beekeeper goes from reluctance to enthusiasm with some coaching from Dad.

Kaia’s brave about almost everything—except for bees. This is a problem, because Kaia’s dad keeps two hives on the roof of their apartment building. Dad drones on and on about the importance of bees to the foods Kaia loves, but that doesn’t make Kaia want to go near them. However, Kaia talks a big beekeeping game with the building’s other kids—only to be found out when a bee landing triggers a public display of fear. Resolved to walk the beekeeping walk, a suited-up Kaia ascends with Dad to the roof, where up-close examination of a frame of bees softens the fear—until Kaia unwisely takes off a glove and is stung. The bee boycott resumes, till two bees accidentally enter the apartment on honey-harvest day, and Kaia bravely opens the window to let them out. Beekeeper Boelts infuses her narrative with both appropriate vocabulary and empathy. Narrator Kaia realistically articulates ambivalence: On the one hand, working the bees makes Kaia feel “electric”; on the other, bee stings hurt! For the most part Dominguez accurately depicts apiary equipment and practices in her friendly cartoons, and she peoples the story with a diverse cast not typically seen in kids’ books about beekeeping. Kaia is biracial, with a black dad and white mom.

Could be just the ticket for turning bee-phobes into beekeepers.

(Picture book. 4-8)