STEM Tuesday — Pollinators — Book List

Pollinator populations are declining. For those of us who like to eat, this is a problem because bees pollinate 75 percent of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States. In addition, bees, butterflies, bats, and other animals pollinate plants and fruit trees which provide food for birds and other wildlife.

Where Have all the Bees Gone? Pollinators in Crisis, by Rebecca E. Hirsch

Beginning with a field trip to find the once-common Franklin’s bumble bee, this book highlights what can happen when wild bees disappear. It concludes on a hopeful note, with two chapters devoted to bee conservation and positive actions that kids – and their families –  can take.


Bugs in Danger, by Mark Kurlansky

This book opens with an overview of how insects fit into the ecosystem and the biggest threats they face: habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, and climate change. There’s a good section on what pollination is and the co-evolution of insects with plants. Remaining sections focus on individual groups of pollinators: bees (big emphasis on honey bees), beetles, and butterflies and moths. Fortunately, there are things everyone can do to keep the world a safe place for bugs.


Turn this Book into a Beehive, by Lynn Brunelle

This book provides an introduction to honey bees, bumble bees, and native bees. Bee-lovers of all ages will appreciate the novelty of turning the book cover into a home for mason bees. Plus there are hands-on activities and recipes for organic pest control, with plenty of tips on how we can keep our landscapes bee-friendly.


Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide, Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies, by The Xerces Society

Though written for adults, we feel this is a valuable reference for curious young naturalists. The first section introduces pollinators (bees, butterflies, beetles, wasps, flies). Another section focuses on strategies to help pollinators (including school gardens). There’s a photo guide to bees of North America, garden suggestions, and a photo guide to pollinator plants.


How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids (How It Works) by Carol Pasternak

This book offers instructions on how to feed and care for monarch butterflies and their caterpillars. It explains varieties of milkweed and how to propagate plants, and offers suggestions for starting a butterfly garden. It also includes information about threats to Monarchs and actions people can take to conserve the butterflies.

Pollinators: Animals Helping Plants Thrive by Martha London

Opening with an in depth look at pollination, this book examines the insects, birds, and bats responsible for the majority of plant pollination. Sidebars extend the discussion to topics like prehistoric pollination, mammals, and artificial pollination. It includes large color photographs, a “fast facts” section, and a glossary, as well as cross-curricular extension activities throughout the book.


Know Your Pollinators: 40 Common Pollinating Insects including Bees, Wasps, Flower Flies, Butterflies, Moths, & Beetles, with Appearance, Behavior, & How to Attract Them to Your Garden by Tim Harris

With a focus on 40 insects from around the world responsible for plant pollination, this book offers full page color images opposite brief discussions of the habits, nests, and life-cycles of many well-known insects (honeybees, monarch butterflies, and ladybugs) and some more unusual ones (blueberry digger, sandpit mining bee, and snowberry clearwing). It also contains succinct sidebar information on the insects, including size, season, nectar sources, and habitat.

National Geographic Birds, Bees, and Butterflies: Bringing Nature Into Your Yard and Garden by Nancy J. Hajeski

This book examines the basic physical and life-cycle information and habitat necessities for these three pollinator groups. Along with gorgeous photos, the text and sidebars help identify common backyard birds, butterflies, bees, and moths. Additional “focus on” sections provide more information on topics like monarch butterfly migrations and creating a moon garden for moths. It also shows how to create a garden plan for each group and offers a list of plants and a growing guide.

The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening; Attract and Support Bees, Beetles, Butterflies, Bats, and Other Pollinators by Kim Eierman

Although also having a more adult feel, this book expanded the evaluation of pollinators beyond insects and birds. The large color images and charts examine the many insects, birds, mammals, and lizards responsible for plant pollination. After exploring their required habitats and foods, the book shows how to create different pollinator gardens. Additional resources include garden tips, a checklist, and plant lists for specific pollinators.

Bug Lab for Kids: Family-Friendly Activities for Exploring the Amazing World of Beetles, Butterflies, Spiders, and Other Arthropods (Lab Series), by John W. Guyton

Bug Lab brings together more than 40 activities for exploring the world of arthropods: spiders, centipedes, butterflies, bees, ants, and many other insects. Activities include making a collecting net, caring for live arthropods, and best ways to photograph bugs. One section focuses on bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, inviting kids to conduct a local survey and make a pollinator habitat.


STEM Tuesday book list prepared by:


Sue Heavenrich writes about science for children and their families, from space to backyard ecology. A long line of ants marching across the kitchen counter inspired her first article for kids. When not writing, she’s committing acts of citizen science in the garden. She blogs about science for kids and families at


Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s been a judge for the Cybils Awards from 2017 to present. And a judge for the #50PreciousWords competition since its inception. Her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2017-2018, 2016, and 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at

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