Resource | K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

Summer We Saved the Bees, The

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Author/Publisher/Website: Stevenson, R.
Copyright: 2015
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: May/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9781459808348
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 4-7
(View recommended grades and subjects)

Resource Description

After twelve-year-old Wolf completes a school passion project on the perilous situation facing bees in the world, his mother becomes obsessed with saving the bees and packs the blended family into a van painted to look like a bee and they set off across Canada to raise awareness of the bee problem. Wolf’s older siblings quickly become fed up and repeatedly make plans to flee while Wolf tries to deal with his younger siblings. This Canadian novel for grades 4-7 deals with topics of blended families, bees and bee die-off, pesticides, and the environment, and is suitable as a class read-aloud, literature circle, or to support a class unit on bees.


Does the resource support BC curriculum?
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Critical thinking
Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
Social Responsibility
This novel supports the Grade 4-7 Language Arts Curricula Big Ideas that "Language and text can be a source of creativity and joy" and "Exploring stories and other texts helps us understand ourselves and make connections to others and to the world." The Curricular Competency that would support this Big Idea is the "use [of] personal experience and knowledge to connect to text and develop understanding of self, community, and world". It also supports Grades 4-7 Science Curricula especially the Big Ideas of living things and how they connect with the environment, and the content of "evidence of climate change over geological time and the recent impact of humans."


There is ongoing concern mentioned of one of the twins and delays. Whisper is believed to have selective mutism and is consistently wetting the bed. The mother disregards these concerns.
A 17-year-old boy hitchhikes to catch up with his family.
The safety of the children seems compromised in a variety of ways, such as 5-year-old twins wandering alone in downtown crowds. There are multiple incidences of the children running away from their parents and the lack of seat belts being worn in a vehicle. The last example is when the children sleep at a stranger's house when avoiding paying fees for a campground.
The use of the word "crap" is mentioned once in the story.
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
Social Considerations Comments:
The novel attempts to be realistic about complex family dynamics however the parenting style would be considered a safety issue with today's current standards. The social consideration of "Safety" has been prevalent throughout the novel. This includes the lack of parental supervision and neglect of the children's needs is the primary topic in this novel. The general lack of involvement of the children during the road trip and campaign results in them withdrawing emotionally by having tantrums, running away, and one of the children displaying selective mutism. When these medical conditions are brought up to the parents by the siblings, it is dismissed.


Should this product be identified as Canadian?
Is the resource engaging?
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
This resource supports the characteristics of Aboriginal worldviews and perspectives:
Connectedness and Relationship
Local Focus
Engagement with the Land, Nature, the Outdoors
Emphasis on Identity
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Can the content be differentiated?
Not at all or slightly
Can reading level be adjusted?
Not at all or slightly
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Is the content of particular interest to male students?
Is the content of particular interest to female students?
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
This is a print novel making it difficult to adjust reading levels and differentiate the content. There are no illustrations in the novel. The novel would engage male and female readers because it follows a blended family with children about the same age as the target audience.


Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Is the resource easy to use?
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
This novel is 227 pages and divided into 34 chapters. This print novel contains no illustrations and the font size is appealing to the eye. This resource moderately shows the effective use of the medium due to the lack of additional features that could be added to engage the readers, for example a map of the route for the road trip, discussion questions, and even links to the current situation of the bees.


Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Plot description:
This novel follows Wolf's family as they embark on a road trip across Canada to save the bees. Their mother, who is obsessed with the mission, pulls her children from school in order to have an early start to their campaign. In a beat-up van made over to look like a bee, this blended family struggles to share their mother's vision. Wolf struggles with his obligation to support his mother because he is the one who initiated the mission with his passion project at school. The children are asked to dress up and speak to strangers about the current situation of the bees. The older children become fed up and flee to their estranged grandmother's house for support for their struggling sister.
Related Comments:
In this novel, the focus is on the dynamics of a blended family and readers will be able to connect with one or more of the characters based on their personalities and beliefs. As this novel is set in British Columbia, the mention of local landmarks and occurrences (riding on a B.C. ferry) makes it more relatable to readers who may have also seen or experienced what the children in the novel did.
Realistic Fiction
Literary Highlights:
Complex conflict
Rich Characterization
Point of view


At intended grade level(s)
2016 Red Cedar Award Nominee ; 2016 Chocolate Lily Award Nominee ; 2016 Rocky Mountain Book Award Nominee ; 2016 Victoria Book Prizes - Bolen Book Award Nominee.


This novel can be used for a whole class read-aloud, literature circle, or in support of a unit if the class is studying bees. It can also be used as a way to initiate genius hour and/or 20% time. The premise of the book is based on a passion project and would motivate students to perhaps initiate one of their own.