The Year the Bees Came is an original story that sensitively handles a range of important themes, including bereavement, self-discovery, cross-generational relationships and the environment.
When Josy inherits her grandfather’s beehive she is initially underwhelmed. Yet she goes on to develop a passion for the bees, overcoming her mother’s disapproval, multiple stings, and the bees swarming and leaving to find a new home. One day the beehive is stolen and local beekeepers rally round to find the culprit. But this is more than a whodunnit, as we also discover how the bees came to be part of Josy’s family history. At the end of the Second World War, when he was just a boy, Josy’s grandfather had to flee from his home. His father took the bees with them – a vital connection to their former life. The book draws parallels between life as a refugee, having to rebuild a home in a new, unfamiliar place, and the bees’ departure from the hive to establish a new colony. The ability to find one’s bearings quickly and start over is presented as a valuable life skill.
This is a book that will stretch and delight young readers, taking them on a journey of discovery into the recent past.