Thank you Kane Press for the review copy of Cybils nominee THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST from the Makers Make It Work series. And congrats to author Lydia Lukidis and illustrator Andre Ceolin on your nomination!
Arun and his little sister Keya are trying to build a treehouse, but their target real estate is occupied by a broken bees’ nest! Luckily, neighbor Dr. Chen is a beekeeping expert of sorts who “helps” the kids (of course they observe as she does it herself) get the beehive to safety where the bees can rebuild, and helps new-to-bees Keya get educated over her fear of the insects.
Disclaimer: This is my intro to the Makers Make It Work series. But based on THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST, I think I’m already a fan.
- Bees are a very important and very imperiled part of the global ecosystem, and this book presents them in a more friendly and accessible way than the “nasty stinging insects” of their reputation. Lukidis humanizes these bugs, if you will.
- The kids knew to get an adult to help, but still maintained their agency throughout this engaging and informative story.
- The “bee facts” in this book are inserted in little callout boxes. I’ve noticed this trend of books written to educate that jam facts straight into the text, creating stilted dialogue and clunky narrative. THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST’s format makes for a better-written story and more digestible facts.
- With boys under-represented in STEAM/STEM books* it’s refreshing to see a boy (big brother Arun) be not only featured as the main character, but the more enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and less scared. To note, Dr. Chen is female.
- Good backmatter with actionable steps kids can take to be a better ally to bees.
Nobody in the book is white. Based on names/illustrations, I assume Arun and his family are of Southeast Asian descent while Dr. Chen is of East Asian. It goes without saying, the bees aren’t white either.
The series title says it all. THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST – if not the rest of this series – works at keeping kids engaged with STEAM/STEM.
THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST is available now from Kane Press!
*Just because publishers send me a handful, doesn’t make them not outliers.