Grab a cup of honeycomb-sweetened tea and steep yourself in knowledge with this bee-centric reading list.
Learning about bees through books is one of our favorite things to do at Pass the Honey, so we rounded up some of the titles we’ve turned to in our quest to understand the imperative yet mysterious world of the only food-producing insect on Earth, the honeybee.
This list of books about bees includes the usuals you’d suspect, like The Bee Book, but also branches out to include books about pollinators for kids, new releases, and even a work of contemporary fiction. Whether you’re a bee-ginner or a biologist, you’ll find something to level-up your pollinator knowledge.
Be sure to find these and any titles through independent bookstores whenever possible.
The Bee Book: Discover the Wonder of Bees and How to Protect Them for Generations to Come
By Emma Tennant & Fergus Chadwick
"Budding entomologists, young environmentalists, and gardening enthusiasts alike are bound to discover fascinating facts and how-to project inspiration." — School Library Journal
Little Book of Bees: An Illustrated Guide to the Extraordinary Lives of Bees
By Hilary Kearney
Journey through the evolution of bees and forage through beekeeping and honey facts in the form of whimsical illustrations in the Little book of Bees: An Illustrated Guide to the Extraordinary Lives of Bees. Older children will be able to follow along, and bee lovers and beekeepers of all ages will appreciate the detail and charm of this gift-able book.
Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World
By Josh Tickell
You might recognize Kiss the Ground from your Netflix feed, but that’s no reason to pass up the Kiss the Ground book for a deeper dive. Environmental documentary filmmaker Josh Tickell interviews people from all links in our food chain, revealing the urgency of regenerating soil health for the health of the planet and the humans and creatures that call it home. Kiss the Ground is essential reading for anyone who eats.
“Kiss the Ground gives us the most practical solution to reversing climate change. The soil is a vital and untapped resource. A must read for anyone committed to healing our bodies and our Earth.” — Deepak Chopra
Give Bees a Chance
By Bethany Barton
Do you have a child or students who are afraid of bees? Flip the script with the Give Bees a Chance picture book by Bethany Barton. Within it’s colorful and informative cartoon pages, kids discover how bees play a role in the food we eat and their essential role in the world, plus why they shouldn’t be so scared of getting stung.
"Even the most bee-phobic readers will have a hard time resisting this swarm of humor and fact." — Kirkus Reviews
Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment
By Stephanie Seneff
Any debate about the alleged “safety” of glyphosate (aka Roundup) is squashed by MIT scientist Stephanie Seneff in her 2021 book Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment. She stacks up the science proving how remarkably toxic the chemical is to humans, wildlife, and plants, and how it contaminates the food we eat.
“Toxic Legacy will stand shoulder to shoulder with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. [This is] unquestionably, one of the most important books of our time.”— David Perlmutter, MD, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain and Brain Wash
By Tierney Monahan
Bees and humans are interconnected in ways most people can’t imagine. In Beyond Honey, Teinerney Monahan widens the scope on how we think about bees through stories that show their impact on the economy, environment, and lives and businesses. You’ll never look at a bee the same way again.
"Tierney Monahan shows here that the value of bees is far greater than honey, and even pollination. They are truly a friend of man in ways you wouldn't think of." — Kim Flottum, author of The Backyard Beekeeper and podcast host of Beekeeping Today Podcast and Honey Bee Obscura Podcast.
Pollination: The Enduring Relationship Between Plant and Pollinator
By Timothy Walker
The natural world we know today would not exist without pollination. Whether you’re a biology student, horticulturist, birdwatcher, or backyard gardener, Pollination: The Enduring Relationship Between Plant and Pollinator is the latest resource on pollination biology through the lens of the most recent scientific developments. As enduring as the plant and pollinator relationship may be, the book highlights the critical need for conservation and regenerative action to save pollinator species.
"Walker is quite clear that for all our study, what we do know about this subject is vastly overshadowed by what we don't, and by what we may never know before it is destroyed. The book concludes with chapters on the importance of pollination to humankind and . . . . point[s] again and again at the fragile intricacies of the natural world, offer the most eloquent argument for conservation of all." — Rory Dusoir, Gardens Illustrated
Flight Behavior: A Novel
By Barbara Kingsolver
Prize-winning and best selling novelist Barbara Kingsolver draws parallels between the plights of butterflies and humans and illustrates the true cost of a crumbling educational system in Flight Behavior. The suspenseful story centers around a female farmer in modern day Appalachia who makes a discovery that rattles religious, educational, and political authorities. If you haven’t bridged your interest in pollinators into the realm of fiction, consider this your invitation.
“Kingsolver has written one of the more thoughtful novels about the scientific, financial and psychological intricacies of climate change. And her ability to put these silent, breathtakingly beautiful butterflies at the center of this calamitous and noisy debate is nothing short of brilliant.” — Ron Charles, Washington Post
Bonus: The Regenerative Apiculture White Paper
Wondering how to turn your bee knowledge into pollinator-saving action? We had the same thought, which is why we co-created the Regenerative Apiculture Working Group to identify and develop systemic solutions to the interconnected challenges beekeepers and honey bees experience today.
Education is a big piece of developing systemic solutions. To get all stakeholders up to speed, the RAWG has published a Regenerative Apiculture White Paper. If you eat food, you’re a stakeholder, so don’t hesitate to dig into this informative and thought-provoking piece featuring in-depth interviews with over 30 industry experts.
“Land use and forage loss are the biggest challenges facing the apiculture industry today. We need to ensure the agricultural system provides forage and habitat for bees and all pollinators.” — Dr. Marla Spivak