How to Bee

How to Bee

Written by: MacDibble, Bren
ages 9 to 12 / grades 4 to 7

A story about family, loyalty, kindness and bravery, set against an all-too-possible future where climate change has forever changed the way we live.

In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. Peony lives with her sister, Magnolia, and her grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Even though she is only nine — and bees must be ten — Peony already knows all there is to know about being a bee and she is determined to achieve her dream.

Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known. Peony is taken to the city to work for a wealthy family. Will Peony’s grit and quick thinking be enough to keep her safe?

How to Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

A story about family, loyalty, kindness and bravery, set against an all-too-possible future where climate change has forever changed the way we live.

In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. Peony lives with her sister, Magnolia, and her grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Even though she is only nine — and bees must be ten — Peony already knows all there is to know about being a bee and she is determined to achieve her dream.

Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known. Peony is taken to the city to work for a wealthy family. Will Peony’s grit and quick thinking be enough to keep her safe?

How to Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Mar 1, 2020
Specifications 224 pages | 5 in x 7.75 in
Supporting Resources
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Excerpt
Teacher's Guide
Written By

BREN MACDIBBLE was raised on farms all over New Zealand, so is an expert about being a kid on the land. After 20 years in Melbourne, Bren recently sold everything, and now lives and works on a bus travelling around Australia. In 2018, How to Bee — her first novel for younger readers — won the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers, the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature, and the New Zealand Book Awards Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction. She recently published The Dog Runner. Bren also writes for young adults under the name Cally Black.

Praise for Bren MacDibble and How to Bee:

“[A] middle grade tale of courage, with a unique storyline that magnifies a realistic threat to one of nature's most helpful insects.” — School Library Journal

“[MacDibble] has created a recognizable, unforgettable voice in Peony… a child-friendly version of Anthony Burgess’s Alex from A Clockwork Orange.” — Booklist

“This book is an engaging, entertaining read, regardless of the age of the reader … but as an educator, I also value its richness as a resource for literature circles, independent research and inquiry.” —  Marlene Bourdon-King, Bookseller/Part-Owner of Once Upon a Bookstore

How to Bee is a chilling look at a broken future and a beautiful story of how those from vastly different backgrounds can inspire change in one another.” — Shelf Awareness

How to Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.” — Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

“The characters are beautifully written, and the dialogue authentic to the setting and place, in this tale where one girls’ courage and determination changes everyone around her.” — Book Blurb

“As an example of how to write Anthropocene it is exemplary.” — Sydney Review of Books

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