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November 16th, 2023

Bee Lore!

Bees have often found their way into literature, history, and mythology, symbolizing aspects of life such as community, social structure, and even divine significance in certain cultures.



In the early 20th century, Belgian playwright and Nobel laureate Maurice Maeterlinck wrote a philosophical work titled "The Life of the Bee." This essay explores the life of bees and draws parallels to human society. 


Ray Bradbury's short story "Embroidery" features robotic bees that perform pollination duties in a future where real bees have become extinct due to pollution.


The novel "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd uses bees as a central metaphor. The protagonist, Lily Owens, is intrigued by bees and beekeeping, and the bees symbolize themes of community, growth, and transformation.



In Greek mythology, the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences, were sometimes associated with bees. They were said to have fed the infant Zeus honey, imparting him with poetic and divine inspiration.


In Mayan mythology, the ancient Mayans believed that bees were messengers between the living and the dead.


In Chinese mythology, bees were seen as symbols of industriousness and thriftiness. The ancient philosopher Confucius used bees as an example of how society should function harmoniously.



The Celts believed that bees were messengers between our world and the spirit realm. They thought bees carried wisdom from the other side.


Russian folklore features tales of magical bees that produce honey with special properties. In some stories, this honey grants the ability to understand the language of animals.


In Basque folklore, bees were thought to have healing powers. Beekeepers believed that the buzzing sound of bees could cure ailments, and they would bring beehives to villages for this purpose.


Today's lessons are about bee literature! Follow along, and BEE ENTERTAINED!

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In Literature:

In Mythology:

In Folklore:

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To get our day started, we have a fun video for you about Bee-Friendly plants! 




"Nuova or The New Bee" is a compelling work penned by Vernon Kellogg. It delves into the captivating life story of Nuova, a young bee. The narrative takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through Nuova's existence, tracking her from birth as a humble worker bee to her eventual transformation into a revered queen bee.


The tale commences with Nuova's arrival in a bustling beehive, surrounded by her siblings and nurturing mother. As she matures, Nuova becomes acquainted with the hive's intricacies and the responsibilities of her worker bee role. Yet, she yearns for something more, a deeper purpose.


One fateful day, Nuova is selected for the prestigious and rare role of a queen bee. This pivotal moment triggers a remarkable transformation, propelling her to become the leader of the hive. Nuova faces numerous challenges in her new role, from rival hives to the constant threat of predators.


Throughout the book, Kellogg Vernon skillfully employs vivid and descriptive language to vividly portray the world of bees. "Nuova or The New Bee" not only offers enthralling entertainment but also imparts valuable insights into the crucial role that bees play in our ecosystem.


Nuova is available for free in the public domain, and can be found online through Project Gutenberg below! 

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To explore Bee Lore, we did a deep dive on a fascinating bee book:


Or The New Bee

By: Vernon Kellogg 



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We have created an audiobook of Nuova, with new chapters being added regularly! Listen to the audio file, and take notes in your Bee Journal. Once you’re finished, there are two writing assignments, one for K-5 and one for 6-12!


Bear in mind this book was written in 1920s, and may not conform in every way to twenty-first century sensibilities. There are scenes of violence and battle (specifically Chapters 5 and 8), and the gender stereotypes are those that you would expect from a work written in 1920. It is advised to preview each chapter and use your judgment as to what is useful for your class.

The first chapter of Nuova is included as part of the GAW lessons and materials. Further chapters will be added on a monthly basis if you would like to continue to explore Nuova’s story with your class. There is a template for a booklet that students can add to as each new chapter is released. The booklet provides space for the students to draw a picture of the action that unfolds in the chapter, and also provides lines for writing a short synopsis.

Nuova Intro and Chapter 1
00:00 / 09:09
Nuova Chapter 2
00:00 / 12:21
Nuova Chapter 3
00:00 / 18:40
Nuova Chapter 4
00:00 / 19:16
Nuova Chapter 5
00:00 / 22:47
Nuova Chapter 6
00:00 / 24:26
Nuova Chapter 7
00:00 / 22:14
Nuova Chapter 8
00:00 / 16:45




From the earliest times when humans sought honeycomb in rocky crevices and depicted it on cave walls, the honeybee has held a special place in our perception of nature – a creature both social and industrious, possessing beauty and an element of awe. No other being has evoked such passionate, enduring, and fantastical connections with humans.


"The Hive" unfolds a captivating narrative of the myriad and peculiar beliefs humans have held about bees and their "society" throughout history. 


Spanning from the honey delta of ancient Egypt to the Tupelo forests of contemporary Florida, the tale encompasses a diverse cast, including figures like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Sherlock Holmes, and Muhammed Ali.


Beyond a mere exploration of the interaction between humans and honeybees, the book delves into the evolution of human thought, traversing the realms of science, religion, and politics. It also provides a social history, revealing the profound impact of bees on food and human rituals. Bee Wilson, through this beautifully illustrated work, illustrates how humans consistently regard the hive as a microcosm with inherent order and purpose, turning to it as a source of understanding for their own existence.


This book was published in 2004, and is not yet in the public domain. Therefore, it must be purchased. This book may be appropriate for older students, but is recommended for educators/teachers to expand on their own knowledge on the honeybee.


We have included a lesson on The Hive, complete with chapter walk-through, discussion questions, and resources for further research. 

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Book Talk Time!

In this lesson, we explore a second bee book:

The Hive

The Story of the Honeybee and Us

By: Bee Wilson



About the Book:

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It's Dress Rehearsal Day!

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Time to finish your Bee Characters, attach them to popsicle sticks, and run through the play to practice! 

Get ready for Day 5:

To Bee or Not to Bee?

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