USU alumni publish kids' book on bee diversity

Internet Education 2020-07-18 06:52:36

There are over 4,000 species of bees living in North America, and Joseph Wilson, an associate biology professor at the USU Tooele campus, has written a book to help educate children about them.

“Bees are the Best!” is a picture book geared toward children in preschool through fourth grade. It tells the story of “Honey” the honey bee.

“She, like most of us, assumes bees are like her, they all have stripes, live in a big hive, and make honey. As she goes out in the world to collect pollen and nectar for her hive, she meets a lot of other kinds of bees, bees that are not necessarily just like her,” Wilson wrote in an email to The Herald Journal. “At first she is confused by this new discovery, that not all bees are like her. But, through her experience, she comes to realize that bees are the best not because they are all like her, but because they are all different and they all do amazing things.”

Wilson hopes that children will come away from the book with two realizations.

“First, I hope our book opens their eyes to the fact that there are lots of kinds of bees in the world; blue bees, green bees, big and small bees and all kinds of bees in-between,” Wilson wrote. “And second, I hope this book will help people realize that we can celebrate our differences, we are all unique and that is what makes our communities special, just like the diverse community of bees helps make our world special.”

For “Bees are the Best!” Wilson has teamed with illustrator Jonny VanOrman, whose previously published works include illustrations on Amazon Originals’ “Costume Quest” and Nickelodeon’s “Sanjay and Craig.”

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“Jonny is an artist and illustrator, as well as a storyteller, and he helped me convey important concepts about bee diversity in a welcoming, accessible format,” Wilson said.

“Bees are the Best!” isn’t Wilson’s first book on bees. Wilson published “The Bees in Your Backyard,” a field guide to diverse bee species, with fellow USU alumna Olivia Messinger Carril.

After “The Bees in Your Backyard” was published, Wilson realized there was a lot of interest in bees from the younger audiences, but there were not really many resources for kids to learn about bees.

“I toyed with the idea of writing a non-fiction book about bees for kids (still on my list of things to do) but I decided a story book might be more fun,” Wilson wrote. “With my friend Jonny Van Orman, who is a talented illustrator and storyteller, we decided a story about bees and acceptance was a story that everyone needed to hear.”

You can purchase “Bees are the Best!” on Amazon, or on Wilson’s website, www.beesinyourbackyard.com.

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