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Zinnia and the Bees

Last updated Friday, June 5, 2020

Author: Danielle Davis
Illustrator: Laura Horton
Date of Publication: 2017
ISBN: 1623708672
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2018

Synopsis: A colony of honeybees mistakes seventh-grader Zinnia's hair for a hive - and that's the least of her problems.

While Zinnia's classmates are celebrating the last day of seventh grade, she's in the vice principal's office, serving detention. Her offense? Harmlessly yarn-bombing a statue of the school mascot. When Zinnia rushes home to commiserate with her older brother and best friend, Adam, she's devastated to discover that he's gone - with no explanation. Zinnia's day surely can't get any worse . . . until a colony of honeybees inhabits her hive-like hair!

Infused with magical realism, Reading to Kids volunteer and author Danielle Davis delivers a quirky, heartfelt debut, exploring both the complex life of a young loner and a comical hive of honeybees. Together, these alternating and unexpected perspectives will touch anyone who has ever felt alone, betrayed, or misunderstood.

Note to readers:
•  The book is long and you will not finish. Try to read to page 39 for the introduction of the bees. Remind the kids that they can finish the story by checking out the book from the school library!
•  Author Danielle Davis reading from her book on YouTube

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever seen a bee hive?
•  Do you know bees make and do? (honey and pollinate our plants/trees so we have food)
•  Are you afraid of bees?


•  Mascot--thing that brings luck and is symbol of organization
•  Magnum opus--an artists greatest piece of work
•  Ensemble--a group
•  Adornments--a thing that decorates, an ornament
•  Exuberant--filed with excitement
•  Devouring--eating or doing something hungrily and quickly
•  Commiserating--sympathize with others
•  Immense--large
•  Perpetually-- which never ends
•  Undulating--moving with a wavelike motion.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who are your best friends? (mom/dad; brother/sister; classmate/neighbor...)
•  What things do you and your friends do together?
•  What would you do if bees landed in your hair or in your home?

Craft ideas:
•  Make pom-poms using yarn and a small piece of cardboard. (see instruction sheet provided)
•  Draw six-sided honeycombs. See examples on inside cover of book.
•  Make a Valentine Card for your best friend or someone you love.
•  Check our February craft ideas on Pinterest!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!