Written & Illustrated by: Shabazz Larkin
For Ages: 3-7 years
Topics Covered: Black Culture & Identity, Bees, Nature, Pollination, Family, Poetry, Fear, Social-Emotional Learning.
Here’s the thing, folx, I’m obsessed with this book. Not only is the artwork stunningly gorgeous, but it’s an ode to a creature that I love dearly: the bee. I get it, bees can be totally scary to kids once they find out about that whole stinging thing. This story is a combination of a love poem to bees, author Shabazz Larkin’s children, and pollinator education. These three plot aspects blend together beautifully to create this story which was perfect for the #fictionfeast we are participating in this month! I decided to have a Pollinator Picnic and stocked up on all of my favorite fruits and veggies that were able to grow because of the delightful little honeybee.
Pollination is a key event for the produce we (and animals) count on eating all year long. Strawberries, avocados, vegetables, all of my faves! I’m going to make a huge assumption here and make the judgement call that most people know how honeybee populations are declining. This is another serious reason why we shouldn’t be killing bees out of fear (on accident or on purpose) when we come across them outside.
I love the way this book provides education about how pollination occurs, and a handy guide in the back to different small buzzing creatures, how mean they are, and if they pollinate or not. The poetry is humorous, comparing kids to bees (they do move pretty quick and love sweet foods) and the impetus to write the story is also explained by Larkin as well. Seriously, check this book out and teach the people in your life how crucial these tiny buzzers are to the delicious foods that we love to enjoy during picnics.
The cover image for this post was found on Shabazz Larkin’s website.
Shabazz Larkin is an artist and activist interested in creating images of black culture and contemporary spirituality. Shabazz is a multi-disciplinary artist, painting vibrant portraiture on canvas, typographic printing techniques and film. His practice of vandalizing photographs, overwhelming use of color and bold typography, at times feel like visual concepts better suited for the editorial section of Rolling Stone. This technique only veils Larkin’s true intention to explore societal issues of race, justice and religion. Shabazz is most known for his “Black Magic” collection, a series of portraits that capture the beauty of resilience in black culture. Larkin’s newest work is a reckless abandon into pop-art — he’s begun writing notes from God and placing them around Nashville, TN. Larkin doubles as an advertising creative, working with world’s largest brands, from Pepsi to Sean Combs. He is also a children’s book author, currently illustrating his third book, a guide for navigating the fear of bees.