Children's Book List | Celebrating Nebraska Pollinators
Looking to explore pollinators and native plants with children?
Here are additional books about bees, native plants and other pollinators. The books below are curated from lists created by our community partners, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission and the UNL Bee Lab. We recognize that some of these books focus on honey bees, a non-native species. This is because it is important for young people to learn about pollinators and pollination regardless of the species performing this critical task.
- B is for Bee, P is for Pollen: An ABC book about Nature and Pollination by Flora C. Caputo
ABCs are a lot more fun to learn when birds, bees and butterflies can come along for the journey. It’s never too early to get to know our natural world, and the important role each of us plays in it. Celebrate the magical world of plants, flowers and pollinators with your child. Together we can make the world a greener, happier place, one letter at a time!
- Bea’s Bees by Ellie Peterson
Beatrix discovers a wild bumblebee nest on her way home from school and finds herself drawn to their busy world. When her bees mysteriously disappear, Bea hatches a plan to bring them back.
Ages 4 to 7
- Bumblebee at Apple Tree Lane: A Smithsonian's Backyard Book by Laura Gates Galvin
In a backyard in southern New England, Bumblebee emerges from her winter hibernation and soon her nest is a flurry of activity. Follow Bumblebee and her young as they collect nectar while buzzing around a New England backyard. Reviewed by the Smithsonian Institution for accuracy, this is a fun and informative story with beautifully detailed illustrations.
- The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre and Patricia J. Wynne
This book introduces young readers to the bumblebee queen in simple, captivating language. From her underground nest as spring warms the ground, to her efforts to build and care for her colony, all aspects of the bumblebee queen's lifecycle are fully explained, with fascinating details even young children will understand. The scientifically accurate illustrations detail hive life so beautifully, you can almost hear the constant buzz and smell the flowers.
- Can You See If I’m a Bee? by Melissa Edwards
Did you know that there are over 20,000 species of bees and that the honeybee is not the best pollinator of them all? This book teaches children all about bees in a rhyming, whimsical way. They learn about some of the different species of bees as well as insects that look like or mimic them.
- Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton
Not sure whether to high-five bees or run away from them? Well, maybe you shouldn’t high-five them, but you definitely don’t have to run away from them. This book is for anyone who doesn’t quite appreciate how extra special and important bees are to the world, and even to humankind! Besides making yummy honey, they help plants grow fruits and vegetables. And most bees wouldn’t hurt a fly (unless it was in self-defense!).
- In the Trees, Honey Bees by Lori Mortensen
Inside the hive views of a wild colony of honey bees offer close-ups of the queen, the cells and eggs. Simple verse engage young children, while sidebars with fascinating information satisfy the somewhat older child. Parents, teachers and kids will love this picture book. The detailed art shimmers with life, highlighting each hair or grain of pollen on the bees. A wild hive in a tree in her own backyard served as a model for the artist!
- Mason Meets a Mason Bee by Dawn Pape
Mason, like many other kids, is afraid of bees. Find out how an encounter with a mason bee changes Mason’s life; Mason conquers his fear of bees and is empowered to be like a superhero to help protect the bees. This story teaches timely and important lessons about wild bees, habitat, pesticide use and native plants in a light and fun way.
Native plants & pollination
- Achoo! Why Pollen Counts by Shennen Bersani (available in Spanish)
Spring has arrived and pollen is in the air. Baby Bear does not like the pollen it sticks to his fur and makes him itchy and sneezy. He's allergic! Achoo! He just wishes the pollen were gone. When his friends gather to tell him why they need pollen, Baby Bear learns that pollen is good for the forest and provides food for many animals, including him!
- Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray
Flowers are calling to all the animals of the forest, “Drink me!”—but it’s the pollinators who feast on their nectar. In rhyming poetic form and with luminous artwork, this book shows us the marvel of natural cooperation between plants, animals and insects as they each play their part in the forest’s cycle of life.
- The Hidden Rainbow by Christie Matheson
Bees need a healthy and colorful garden to survive. Luckily, all the colors of the rainbow are hidden in this garden—but the bees need the reader’s help to find them. Brush off the camellia tree, tickle the tulips and even blow a kiss to the lilac tree. With every action and turn of the page, a flower blooms and more bees are drawn to the feast.
- The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller
The reason for a flower is to manufacture seeds, but Ruth Heller shares a lot more about parts of plants and their functions in her trademark rhythmic style.
- Butterflies in the Garden by Carol Lerner
Swallowtails, sulphurs and skippers. Brushfoots, whites and gossamer wings. So many different kinds of butterflies! In her highly praised style, Carol Lerner shows you how to lure these winged beauties into your garden. She vividly depicts flowers that attract hungry butterflies, as well as plants where they leave their eggs. Her clear text explains what butterflies eat and how they grow from caterpillars to full-grown fliers.
- Butterfly Story by Anca Hariton
Breathtaking watercolor illustrations introduce children to one of nature's miracles, the development and hatching of a butterfly, following the process from the laying of eggs to the emergence of the butterfly from the cocoon.
- Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha
One part science, one part cultural history, and countless parts fascination, Bees celebrates the important role that these intriguing insects have played in our ecosystem throughout the ages. From Athena to Alexander the Great and from Egypt to Ethiopia, Bees explores different methods of beekeeping and uncovers the debt that humans owe this vital species. With beautifully accessible illustrations depicting everything from bee anatomy to the essentials of honey making, readers will be captivated by the endless wonders of this seemingly small speck of the animal kingdom.
- You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Bees! by Professor Alex Woolf
This is in the vein of clever, wry kid comics, aka bees with attitude. Great overview of bee anatomy, how bees make honey, mechanics of beekeeping, threats to bees, etc. Even though it omits native bees from the discussion, it’s on this list because it’s fun, the illustrations are great
Native plants & pollination
- Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara Levine
Pssssst! Did you know plants can talk? It’s true! Plants use the colors of their flowers to communicate with animals. But why animals? Because they help plants make seeds by moving pollen from one flower to another. Learn the secrets of flower talk from a narrator with an inside scoop!
- How Do Animals Help Plants Reproduce? By Ruth Owen
Excellent technical resource for understanding the mechanics of pollination, seed production, and the partnership between plants and animals that results in plant reproduction. The book contains excellent diagrams, and dedicates space to bird and animal pollinators, the role nectar plays, and how seeds are dispersed.
- What is Pollination? by Bobbie Kalman
Pollination by insects is a critical function of all land ecosystems. Most orchard fruits, vegetables and some field crops are pollinated by insects. This book features photographs that focus on the critical fact that protecting pollinators means having food to eat. It helps children look at insects in a different way.
- A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart
This fact-filled, colorful look at the amazing world of butterflies includes a call to action to protect these beautiful insects. It introduces the basic facts about butterflies, including how they transform from caterpillar to butterfly, where they live, what they eat, and how they benefit plants and animals.
For adult book recommendations, see the list on the Gardener Resources page.
PBS KIDS Book Lists
Looking for even more book ideas? PBS KIDS for parents has ideas for books about gardening and exploring the outdoors.