About this book
How to Bee
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:
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
About the Author
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.
Awards and Praise
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
“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
“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
“As an example of how to write Anthropocene it is exemplary.” — Sydney Review of Books