Suggestions for Further Reading & Viewing

Fiction | Civil Rights Movement | Bee Culture and Beekeeping |
The Black Madonna and the Divine Feminine


Bee Season by Myla Goldberg (2000):   In Myla Goldberg's outstanding first novel, a family is shaken apart by a small but unexpected shift in the prospects of one of its members. When 9-year-old Eliza Naumann, an otherwise indifferent student, takes first prize in her school spelling bee, it is as if rays of light have begun to emanate from her head. TeachersHoney Jar regard her with a new fondness; the studious girls begin to save a place for her at lunch. Even Eliza can sense herself changing. She had "often felt that her outsides were too dull for her insides, that deep within her there was something better than what everyone else could see." 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie R. King (1994):  In the early years of WW I, 15-year-old American Mary Russell encounters Sherlock Holmes, retired in Sussex Downs where Conan Doyle left him raising bees. 

Cold Flat Junction, by Martha Grimes (2001):  The intrepid 12-year-old sleuth Emma Graham is back in a sequel to Grime’s Hotel Paradise. When 38-year-old Fern Queen is shot just days after her father, Ben, is released from prison, Sheriff Sam DeGheyn suspects him. Emma, certain that the current murder is somehow related to the drowning death of Fern's cousin Mary-Evelyn Devereau 40 years earlier, sets out to prove Ben Queen's innocence.

Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons (1987):   In Ellen Foster, the title character is an 11-year-old orphan who refers to herself as "old Ellen," an appellation that is disturbingly apt. Ellen is an old woman in a child's body; her frail, unhappy mother dies, her abusive father alternately neglects her and makes advances on her, and she is shuttled from one uncaring relative's home to another before she finally takes matters into her own hands and finds herself a place to belong. 

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg (1967):  Both wonderfully comic and dramatic, this is the story of Mrs. Threadgoode whose tales about growing up in Alabama, especially about two women, Idgie and Ruth, offer a birds eye view of the Depression era South.

Hotel Paradise, by Martha Grimes (1996):   Emma Graham, the 12-year-old narrator, is an incorrigibly inquisitive girl. Tethered to table-waiting responsibilities in the family's frayed-at-the-edges resort hotel, Emma's only connection to youngsters her age is her consuming interest in the death by drowning of another 12-year-old girl 40 years ago; wearing a party dress, Mary-Evelyn Devereau apparently fell from a rowboat on nearby Spirit Lake in the middle of the night. 

Keeper of the Bees, by Gene Stratton-Porter (1991):  This wholesome adventure involves a slowly recovering World War I veteran who runs away from the hospital to die in the tranquility of the California coastal countenance, but instead finds redemption by coming to the aid of an assortment of special characters, including a Bee Master.  This is a classic written in 1925 and published almost 60 years after the author’s death. 

A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines (1993): this is the story of a innocent young black man on Death Row, Jefferson, and Grant Wiggins, a white man and teacher who helps him learn the power of passive resistance.

McKay’s Bees, by Thomas McMahon (1979):  Moving from Massachusetts to Kansas in 1855 with his new wife and a group of German carpenters, Gordon McKay is dead set on making his fortune raising bees--undaunted by Missouri border ruffians, newly-minted Darwinism, or the unsettled politics of a country on the brink of civil war.

Nectar by David Fickett (2002):  Set in the rough farmland of Maine comes a story of love, sacrifice, and the mysterious healing power of bees. The narrative of three generations of beekeepers tells the story of Regina Merritt, a determined young woman who must choose between contentment and survival.

A Recipe for Bees, by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (1998):  A woman moves her family to a small farm and becomes a beekeeper – a novel full of bee lore, cooking, and gardening.

Swan Place, by Augusta Trobaugh (2002): A series of unfortunate events leaves teenager Dove, her younger sister, Molly, and their baby brother, Little Ellis, in the care of their stepmother, seventeen-year-old Crystal. They seek refuge with a group of religious black women who help them survive.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960): The Pulitzer Prize winning unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, as viewed by Scout, the young girl whose father is the attorney defending a black man accused of rape.

Where the Heart Is, by Billie Letts (1995):  Letts's debut novel concerns a pregnant teenage girl who finds a new life among the quirky inhabitants of a small town in Oklahoma.


Non Fiction – Civil Rights Movement

4 Little Girls (1998) an HBO documentary film in association with 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks and a Spike Lee Joint, directed and produced by Spike Lee, and produced by Sam Pollard. (DVD) : a film about the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL on Sunday, Sept.Honey Jar 15, 1963 which killed four black girls. The church was a main location for civil rights rallies and meetings and was later found to have been dynamited that Sunday morning by the Ku Klux Klan.

African American Odyssey: the Civil Rights Era, from the Library of Congress. An exhibit tracing the history of Blacks in America.

A Call to Conscience: the Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Claybourne Carson and Kris Shepard (2001). A compact disk talking book edition of Dr. King’s speeches, read by various dignitaries of the times.

The Children by David Halberstam (1998): The Children is David Halberstam's brilliant and moving evocation of the early days of the civil rights movement, as seen through the story of the young people--the Children--who met in the 1960s and went on to lead the revolution - against the War in Vietnam, for Civil Rights and the equality of women.

The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle, 1954-1990, edited by Clayborne Carson, et.al. (1991): the subtitle says it all.

Faces of Freedom Summer, photographs by Herbert Randall and text by bobs M. Tusa. (2001): During the summer of 1964, Randall, a young black photographer from New York, chronicled the freedom movement in Hattiesburg, MS. Re-discovered in the archives of the University of Southern Mississippi, these 100+ photos give testimony to a time of danger and turbulence.

Free at Last: Civil Rights Heroes (1999), video produced by Bill Brummel Productions for The Learning Channel, produced and written by Martin Kent: a three-part video series about the heroes and heroines, both sung and unsung, of the civil rights movement in America.

Introduction to Federal Voting Rights Laws, from the congress of Racial Equality web site: Freedom Summer was a highly publicized campaign in the Deep South to register blacks to vote during the summer of 1964.

Non Fiction – Bee Culture and Beekeeping

B-Eye – See the World Through the Eyes of a Honey Bee, Neuroscientist Andy Giger, studying insect vision at Australian National University, created this web site so folks can see the differences in visual distortion between the human eye and that of the honey bee.Honey Jar

Bee Briefs,  Sponsored by the University of California at Davis’ Department of Entomology, this site is a collection of short articles that provide essential information about various aspects of beekeeping.

Beehoo the Beekeeping Directory

Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation, by Tammy Horn (2005): Written by a beekeeper, this is an inspired cultural history of bees and beekeeping from colonial times to the present. Did you know that the U.S. military is using bees to detect bombs? Includes an outstanding bibliography of sources for more information.
Draper's bee cam

A Country Year: Living the Questions, by Sue Hubbell (1983):  From her 100-acre farm in the Ozarks Sue Hubbell, former librarian, takes us through the seasons enjoying her exquisite observations of the natural world. The essays on her business of keeping 200 beehives, harvesting honey and getting it to market are delightful reading.  A classic.

The Honey Bee, Texas A&M University’s honeybee website seeks to provide general information about bees, answer frequently asked questions and solve common problems associated with honey bees, and serve beekeepers with regulatory resources, specific disease and parasite information, and current topics.

Honey Bees & Beekeeping: a Year in the Life of an Apiary, hosted by Keith S. Delaplane, Ph.D. in Entomology (video, 2002): This 2 video set contains eight half hour episodes tracing the development of ten honey bee colonies through a complete year of management.

Letters from the Hive: an Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind, by Stephen Buchmann with Banning Repplier (2005): This book takes us into the actual bee hive, exploring the link between bees and the human species and the role bees have played in human culture and mythology, in art, literature, religion, medicine, and the culinary arts.

National Honey Board

Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men, by William Longgood:  "The affinity of beekeepers for their bees is called `bee fever.' Its onset might be slow or fast, but the end result is the same. You fall in love with honeybees and get your first hive.”

Robbing the Bees: a Biography of Honey, the Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the world, by Holley Bishop (2005): the author follows a beekeeper through his day in order to learn about beekeeping, with separate sections on honey, pollination, wax, venom, etc.

The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore, by Hilda M. Ransome (2004):  Well-documented, copiously illustrated study of the creature that has provided the world with wholesome food and inspired many beliefs and superstitions. Chapters cover the folklore of bees and bee culture—from Egyptian, Babylonian, and other ancient sources to practices in modern Europe. Rare illustrations of bees, hives, and beekeepers.

The Shamanic Way of the Bee: Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices of the Bee Masters, by Simon Buxton (2004): The author is a beekeeper, on the British faculty for the Harner Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and the founder of The Sacred Trust, a British based educational organization dedicated to the teaching of practical shamanism for the modern world and an elder of the Path of Pollen. He was cured of an almost fatal episode of encephalitis by an Austrian bee shaman and writes prosaically about the secret wisdom of the tradition of the healing of bees.

Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee, by Hattie Ellis (2005):  For anyone who's wondered about how humans first started eating honey—after all, bees guard it jealously—Ellis's charming history will be a treat.

Tales from the Hive from Nova Online

Wolves and Honey: A Hidden History of the Natural World, by Susan Brind Morrow (2004):  In this lyrical memoir, Morrow (The Names of Things) muses on New York State's Finger Lake region, where she grew up. Her ruminations are loosely based on her memories of two men—one a trapper, the other a beekeeper—whose ability to connect with nature had a profound influence on the way she views the world.


Non-Fiction – The Black Madonna and the Divine Feminine

Black Madonnas: Feminism, Religion, and Politics in Italy (2000) andHoney Jar Dark Mother: African Origins and Godmothers (2002) by Lucia Birnbaum: These volumes are historical studies of the origins of black madonnas and the cultural and political connections of this image.

Cathedral of the Black Madonna: The Druids and the Mysteries of Chartres, by Jean Markale (2004): Delves into the foundations of Chartres when the site was a Druid place of worship and now home to one of the most venerated Black Madonnas in Europe. The author details the implications of the Madonna/virgin symbol in contemporary religion.

Mary Magdalene: the Hidden Apostle (2004, DVD): This DVD is part of A&E’s "Biography" series which highlights interviews with scholars to discover Mary’s role as evangelist, prophet, and leader of the early Christian church.

The Power of the Dark Feminine: Discovering the Energy of Fierce Compassion, by China Galland (1999, cassette talking book edition): the author winds the listener on a spiritual pilgrimage from India to South American to medieval Europe in search of the mythic figures of the divine feminine.

Unveiling the Secret Life of Bees by Amy Lignitz Harken (2005): the author, who holds a M.Div. from the University of Chicago, and is a minister at Community Christian Church in Kansas City, MO expands on the concepts of earthly and divine mother in Sue Monk Kidd’s novel, "The Secret Life of Bees".Bee

Revised 05/25/10