Nature always excites, intrigues, and inspires me in so many ways, especially with my writing. A hike and a special old tree inspired me to write a short poem that eventually became my first picture book THIS TREE COUNTS! My new book, THESE BEES COUNT! came from a different inspiration—ice cream, but bees had infused this particular flavor. A double scoop of tasty honey-vanilla ice cream and a sign about disappearing honeybees set me buzzing to find a local beekeeper. Several beekeeper interviews later, as well as reading numerous books on honeybees, I knew I had to write a story about the importance of bees in our world.
Bees produce honey as we know, but it wasn’t until I heard about colony collapse disorder that I learned just how many plants, fruits, vegetables, and flowers that bees pollinate every day. Nearly every food crop you can think of—from berries to broccoli, coffee to cantaloupe, and cotton, too, would cease to exist without worker bees carrying pollen from plant to plant.
Helping plants grow is the heart of my story and the bees share their truth behind the buzz:
“Buzzing, flying, working—we do more than you may know.
Each of us is nature’s farmer, helping food and flowers grow.”
Besides the ability to pollinate plants and make honey, there’s something magical about a beehive. Behind all of that buzzing it’s an all for one, one for all existence. The queen, the workers, and the drones all need each other to keep the hive alive. And we need each other to protect our natural resources to keep our planet alive.
I can walk outside, climb a tree (or plant a few), and watch bees covered in grains of pollen flit from flower to flower. And that’s just in my backyard. See why nature inspires me?
Alison Ashley Formento’s picture book THIS TREE COUNTS! won several “Green” awards and is now available in board book format as THIS TREE, 1, 2, 3. Her latest books are THESE BEES COUNT! and THESE SEAS COUNT! (2013). Alison has written for The New York Times, The Writer and Parenting and donates a portion of her book sales to AmericanForests.org. Learn more at: www.alisonashleyformento.com.