Honey. Flowers. Beeswax. Cough syrup. Lip balm. What do all these products have in common? They were all made by bees! If you take a look around your local supermarket you’ll be surprised at how many more products are produced by bees. (Tip: this is a great time to use a bilingual list of Spanish words while also teaching about the importance of bees!) Bees, those buzzing beauties, are more than just adorable creatures—they are the unsung heroes of our survival. They tirelessly pollinate our plants ($15 billion worth of just US crops and 200 million pounds of UK crops), ensure healthy ecosystems and a steady food supply for animals and humans alike. Here are some of the crops that benefit from bee pollination: apple (la manzana), beet (la remolacha), eggplant (la berenjena), cherries (la cereza), garlic (el ajo), onion (la cebolla), strawberry (freza), coffee (café) and many more.
But here's the sting: bees are facing unprecedented threats, and their numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate. It's not just a minor inconvenience—it's a crisis that demands our attention. In the U.S. and Canada, bees are experiencing massive die-offs year after year. The rusty patched bumblebee, a true icon, became the first bee species to be added to the endangered list in the continental U.S. back in 2017. And it doesn't stop there. According to a 2019 survey by the Bee Informed Partnership, nearly 40% of beekeepers in the U.S. lost their precious colonies in the previous year alone. That's a huge blow to our bee population. In fact, since 1947, the number of honeybees in the U.S. has plummeted by a devastating 60%. We can't let these stats sting us into inaction.
So, what's causing this buzz-terrible situation? Multiple factors come into play. Habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change—you name it. Bees are facing an uphill battle against the destruction of their homes, exposure to harmful chemicals, and the changing climate. It's time for us to be their wingmates and fight for their survival.
On May 20th, 1734, the originator of beekeeping, Anton Janša, was born. He singlehandedly revolutionized the craft of beekeeping by inventing a new design for beehives, he finetuned techniques for producing buckwheat honey, and wrote many books on apiculture (a fancy way of saying beekeeping). Thanks to Anton and the United Nations who designated World Bee Day to raise awareness of the vital role bees play in our world. And this Sol Book Boxers, is where we come in. What better way to help bees than by teaching the next generation about their importance. How? By taking action, one step at a time. Here are some ways we can be the heroes our bees need:
The future of our planet and our palates depends on bees. They are the ultimate party starters, making sure our crops thrive and our ecosystems flourish. Let's embrace our inner bee lovers and work together to create a world where bees can thrive, pollinating our planet and filling it with life's sweetest moments. Together, we can be the heroes our bees need and ensure a vibrant and buzzing future for generations to come. ¡Viva las abejas!
Written by Cristina Banfi, illustrated by Giulia De Amicis
Go on a fantastic journey into the world of bees and appreciate what they mean for the planet, flowers and many foods. This beautiful picture book from Amanuta is jam-packed with facts that'll keep your reader buzzing! For example, did you know that bees communicate with each other through their dances?
Written by Fran Nuño, illustrated by Zuzanna Celej
Discover the wonderful powers of bees in this beautiful hymn to nature featuring haikus, set in a quiet corner of Japan.
Written by Estrella Ortiz, illustrated by Paloma Valdivia
Spring has sprung in this delightful sing-song book where birds, animals and insects abound. It's a cheerful, funny introduction to some of nature's creatures, warmly illustrated to illicit smiles from your little one.
Written by Jess French, illustrated by Claire McElfatrick
A fascinating journey of exploration, showing kids just how amazing creepy-crawlies are, what they do for our planet, and how we can help them.
Karina Batchelor is a Latinx mama from the Magic City that runs on books and cafecito. Her haunts include her local leafy library, her homeschooling cooperative, the warm comfy nook near the window, and the theatre, where she works as a professional dramaturg.