Socially Conscious Picture Books: Honeybee & We Are Water Protectors

Hey everyone, it’s Sarah!

Typically, we don’t review picture books outside of Mock Caldecott, because YA is truly our passion. While I was going through books that are receiving Caldecott buzz, I couldn’t stop thinking about these books and wanted to discuss them. In library school, we were required to come up with activities related to all types of books and these picture books inspired me.

42245182. sx318 Title: Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifer

Author: Candace Fleming

Illustrator: Eric Rohman

Summary & Review:

This book is like one of my favorite Magic School Bus episodes come to life. Readers are taken into a beehive to learn the jobs and positions of the bees. By playing with perspective, Rohman drops the reader into the bee’s world. The appear to be almost the same size as the reader, which allows for a strong connection. This nonfiction/informational text takes us through the life cycle of a worker bee, truly exploring the importance and delicate balance surrounding the survival of humans and bees. This is complex, with sad parts, happy parts, and hope. The back matter includes a variety of resources, like diagrams, additional resources and definitions. I think the power of this book is beyond the text and illustrations (both of which are stellar) it is the combination of the story and back matter that discusses how we can help the honeybees. I think this is something great to begin discussing at a young age and in the classroom.

Additional Resources:

This book has inspired me to collect additional resources, so that others could find ways to integrate the text into their own classrooms.

Introduction to bees and basic facts, click here.

macro photography of bee on white petal flower

Photo by Hiu1ebfu Hou00e0ng on

Activism for Honey Bees, click here.

Lesson plans from humanitarian group The Honey Bee Conservancy, click here.

National Education Association (NEA) lesson plans on honey bees, click here.



44581496. sx318 Title: We Are Water Protectors

Author: Carole Lindstrom

Illustrator: Michaele Goade


This book gorgeously explores the importance of water in our lives. This own voices book speaks to the water’s importance within a native community. The colors and movement of the illustrations are just awesome. The book begins with water and continues into the issue with the Dakota Access Pipeline. It describes protests that are immediately relevant, in a way that is appropriate and interesting for young readers. I love that it sparks this discussion in children.  The work encourages readers to think critically about the world around them and demand justice.

blue banner sign posters

Photo by Markus Spiske on

Additional Resources:

Zinn Education Project with resources and lessons plans, click here.

Teaching Tolerance’s variety of resources that touch on issues related to Standing Rock/Dakota Access Pipeline, click here.

NYC Stands for Standing Rock’s detailed lesson, click here.


If you have any social justice/activism picture books, what are they? Do you share them in the classroom, how?

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