Children's Picture Books

Our Bee-utiful Buzzy Friends|Bee Books for Kids #SavetheBees

A few years ago, summer pool lessons turned into a sad time for my Little Princess. As her bare feet padded around the pool, she cried out when accidentally stepping on the exact spot a bee had landed to take a drink.

The stinger that hung from the bottom her foot, which I promptly removed, was no longer attached to the little fuzzy buzzy bee. Sadly, the insect lost its life that day.

Thankfully, Little Princess had no allergic reaction to her first bee sting. But I wondered if this incident would make her forever afraid of bees.

This year, we planned a home school field trip to an apiary. Not only was Little Princess scared of getting stung, my tween kids voiced their concerns of being chased and attacked by a swarm of bees.

Never having been to an apiary, I didn’t know what to expect.

Our tour guide showed us inside the warehouse how the honey is taken from the honey comb frames with a spinning extractor. The honey comb remains and the golden honey pours from a spout via gravity.

Each part of the hive can be made into a bee product. There’s beeswax candles, bee propolis (my favorite new natural home remedy), royal jelly, and even the pollen is sold as a health supplement.

My children stood entranced when we came to an active hive protected by plexi-glass. The bees dancing on the other side felt like our visits to “Terrors of the Deep” at Sea World. Despite the Mako sharks circling overhead, the clear tunnel barrier gave us much needed security.

When we reached home, I had purchased a literal gallon of honey, some propolis, royal jelly, and the kids received a few honey hard candies for free. On top of that they seemed less afraid of bees.

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Being educated about what we are afraid of helps us have peace. Books are a good way to impart knowledge with a little bonding time thrown in. After reading, The Honey Makers together, my Little Princess sat pondering and concluded, “Thank God for the bees.”

The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons

IMG_20180519_082415240_HDRHere’s another bee book to help kids learn the importance of our little honey-making pollinating friends.

The Beautiful Bee Book by Sue Unstead

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Without bees, flowers couldn’t pollinate, seeds couldn’t germinate, and crops would not bear fruit. Instead of fearing our fuzzy friends, let’s find ways to protect them for generations to come. Protecting bees can be made possible by bringing awareness, using less pesticides, and buying from sustainable farms.

Have a bee-utiful day with your family as you share books about the importance of bees!

Blog, Children's Picture Books, Easy Readers, Middle Grade Fiction (ages 8-12)

Meet the Mewest Addition to Our Family & 10 Beloved Dog and Cat Books

dog and catThe most amazing thing happened! After teaching a class in Sunday School, I drove home from church later than the rest of my family. Right there in front of our door was a plate full of cat food.

“Did you find a cat?” I stepped inside and let the door shut.

My husband hugged me. “Some kitten ran right into April’s arms. She left food for it.”

A stray kitten friendly enough to spring into my teenager’s arms? “That cat must be special. Where is it?”

“Gone, I guess.”

Then lo and behold a plaintive mew behind the door. “The cat came back.”

I opened the  door and a little striped kitty jumped in. “Catch her!” I chased the kitten, but my teenage girl pounced on the four-legged intruder before me. “Put her in the bathroom. She might have fleas.”

Then I went to work, scrubbing the cat and dousing her with flea treatment. April and I made a make-shift litter box out of a large Rubbermaid container and we used extra food and water bowls from our other kitty, a Maine Coon named Smokey.

I quarantined the kitten in the bathroom until I could get her to the vet, so she wouldn’t pass on any sicknesses she caught from being outside to Smokey.

“We’re keeping the cat?” asked my husband. Mind you, he makes jokes about turning our Maine Coon into a fur rug.

“She’s a special kitty. I just know it. You said she ran right into April’s arms?”

My husband scratched his chin. “I don’t normally spend much time in the front yard, but I spotted a blue heron and had to get a picture of it. That little kitten was frolicking near the pond across the street. She took one look at April and charged ahead.”

“The cat found her girl and you know it. She’s a gift from above.” I patted his arm. “April has had a rough first year of high school. Our girl needs this cat and this cat needs our girl.”

My husband didn’t argue. He knew there was something special about this kitten. So, now she’s ours and her name is Lizzie.

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Whether cat or dog, pets hold a special place in our hearts. And books about the bond between pets and their owners can be some of the best books for kids. The following are ten pet books that have touched my children’s hearts.

Biscuit

1. Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli.

This easy reader series is about the adventures of an adorable puppy named Biscuit. My five-year-old girl can read these stories all on her own. The text is repetitive for easy reading and yet the stories are fun and engaging enough for children to read again and again.

2. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion.

Having younger children who aren’t especially fond of taking baths, they can totally relate to the story of Harry who doesn’t want to get clean. In the end, Harry decides he’d rather take a bath than be unrecognizable. This classic is sure to be a staple on your child’s bookshelf.

For a version read-aloud by Betty White, click here.

 Cynthia
Cynthia Rylant, the quintessential children’s author on pets, takes fan mail seriously. When my teenage girl was little, she wrote a letter to Mrs. Rylant and one day this postcard appeared in the mail.

3. Brownie and Pearl  series by Cynthia Rylant.

My five-year-old loves this series about a girl named Brownie and her kitty, Pearl. The illustrations are bright and cartoon-like, perfect for capturing the attention of our littlest readers. Brownie and Pearl’s antics had her giggling with each turn of the page.

4. The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant.

This story had me teary. An old woman lived all alone. She had outlived all her friends. She named her car, her chair, and her house because she refused to name anything that would not last as long as her. Then she met a lost puppy who helped her to open her heart again to love.

5. Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant.

Mudge is the perfect name for an enormous dog who slobbers and loves on a little boy named Henry. This easy-reader series tells about the adventures a gentle-giant of a dog can have with his boy.

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6. A Traveling Cat by George Ella Lyon.

Boulevard the cat sauntered into her girl’s life and for a time stayed. A touching story about the quick bond between a child and a found feline and learning to accept when a pet runs away and doesn’t come back.

7. Stay! Keeper’s Story by Lois Lowry.

Only Lois Lowry, author of The Giver series, could write a believable story from a dog’s point of view. Sweet, sweet story of the trials and triumphs of being a dog.

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8. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.

Opal finds a dog in a Winn-Dixie store, or did the dog find her? Being from the south, I can relate to all the quirky characters in this story. And, Winn-Dixie (the dog) reminds me so much of my dog, Molly who also was found fully grown, smiled like a human, and ran away during an occasional thunder storm.

9. Green Dog: A Mostly True Story by Suzanne Fisher Staples.

This little middle grade fiction novel stole into my heart. For those who’ve had difficult pets that they loved anyway, this book is sure to steal your heart, too.

10. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

Reading this book is a rite of passage for any child. There’s a reason why dogs are called man’s best friend. The bond between a boy and his dogs can be just as strong and true as for human friends.

Having owned many cats and dogs growing up, reading books like these to my children brings back nostalgic feelings about all those furry friends of mine who hold a special place in my heart. Reading these stories can grow compassion for all God’s creatures and a sense of responsibility to take the best care of them. Isn’t that a marvelous thing about a good book? They truly help our kids grow!