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Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  328 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Honey. Beeswax. Pollinate. Hive. Colony. Work. Dance. Communicate. Industrious. Buzz. Sting. Cooperate.

Where would we be without them? Where would we be without one another?

In eighty-two poems and paragraphs, Naomi Shihab Nye alights on the essentials of our time—our loved ones, our dense air, our wars, our memories, our planet—and leaves us feeling curiously sweeter and p
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Greenwillow Books
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Jun 02, 2009 Relyn rated it liked it
Recommended to Relyn by: my husband heard her speak at an IRA conference
This woman can write! I mean, she can really, really write. Her essay about accidentally entering a home which she thought was a museum, was incredible.

So, why the three stars? Her politics were a little too in-your-face for me. I know that we all have different opinions, different viewpoints. I have no problem with that. What a dull, small world we would live in if that we didn't. I have many friends with extremely different viewpoints from my own. No problem there either. It's just that I got
Nadine Jones
May 14, 2016 Nadine Jones rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
2.5 stars

In her moments of brilliance, the poems shine. Some are short and seem to capture the meaning of life in a few lines. Some are longer and surprise you with a gem nestled among the words.

She has a sly wit and a beautiful appreciation for the world around her, but sometimes this is overtaken by the message, (either about the environment or the violence in the Middle East and how the U.S. Is wrongwrongwrong), and these are beset with a smug tone, and my attention involuntarily wandered aw
Liz Strode
2008 Arab-American Book Award, School Library Journal Best Book, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice
"Honeybee" made me want to start writing poetry again. I haven't written a poem since last October when I taught poetry as part of a unit about discovering "Who am I?" in my 6th grade language arts class. The introduction was key in bringing the entire book of poems together. Though this is a collection of poems, some previously published elsewhere, by the t
Aimee Iwersen
Jul 10, 2012 Aimee Iwersen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kelsey, Sarah and Nikki
Studying elementary literacy in school has given me a great opportunity to catch up on what my kids are reading these days. And folks, it is really different. What I have read just these past few months makes me sad that I was reading crap like Christopher Pike when I was in middle school. :)
This is my lastest read-Honeybee, by Naomi Shihab Nye. This is a collection of poetry for kids and adults. She writes outside of the catchy rhymes and funny characters. She writes about her experience growin
Jul 09, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it
The cover of this book says "Poems," but you'll notice the title here on Goodreads is more accurate: "Poems & Short Prose." The prose breaks up the poems nicely, and Nye's "Museum" prose piece is wonderful enough for you to buy this entire collection. I dug most of the poems. Here are some standouts:

The Crickets Welcome Me to Japan
Girls, Girls
How Do I Know When a Poem is Finished?
Before I Read The Kite Runner
Gate A-4
Oct 30, 2011 Carolyn rated it liked it
Overall Response
I did enjoy a lot of the poetry in this collection and I'm excited to have gotten an introduction to Nye. There are two things that kept me from really loving this book, however.

One was that it didn't feel like a very cohesive collection to me--and maybe it wasn't meant to be. But the fact that it was called Honeybee, with Honeybee/butterfly/flower art throughout, the Honeybee poem on the back cover and front dustflap and the central section of Bee poems grouped together made it
Sep 29, 2016 Szyny rated it it was ok
I like the stories about the museum and a flight.
Feb 12, 2013 Patrica rated it did not like it
Shelves: print-format, poetry, 5-8
This book is a collaboration of poems and short stories. The poems and short stories are written through the writers point of view and provide meaningful insight about life that everyone can relate to. A majority of her pieces focus on war, politics and society. The writer also incorporates bees and insect communication.

The writers allows the reader to have an inside look of her life, thoughts and daily activities. As the reader, you can really feel the writers passion for what she does through
Nicole Perez
From an adult's perspective, I found this book of poems to be both profound and sweet; very telling in how Nye explores relationships, love, war, Earth, memories, communication and the very nature of humans. Interesting how she also weaves in the role of animal and insect communication, and her voice alone suggests a very one-ness that we have with other beings. Lots of political and religious ideas , and personal experiences from Nye throughout. Gave me a better sense of who she is as a person ...more
Jul 05, 2008 Carmyn rated it really liked it
Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye is the first book I've read by this author, though I've long liked a number of her poems. The inside flap of the book says,

"In eighty-two poems and paragraphs, Naomi Shihab Nye alights on the essentials of our time--our loved ones, our dense air, our wars, our memories, our planet--and leaves us feeling curiously sweeter and profoundly soothed."

This describes the book pretty well.

I tend to prefer poetry anthologies rather than books in which
Sara Baker
Mar 12, 2014 Sara Baker added it
Shelves: 1-8
This book is full of a collection of poems and stories. Naomi writes about everyday occurrences from things she reads in the Sunday paper to personal experiences. Many of the poems and short stories she writes about has something to do with honeybees. Naomi even includes poems about the war and Iraq. She includes many poems and stories that talk about God, as well.
I feel that this book is very personal. Naomi writes all about her feelings and daily activities. She even includes stories ab
Oct 23, 2012 Cody rated it it was amazing
Honybee is not just one story; it is a collaboration of poems and short stories. The majority of the poems have to do with bees; however there is a few that differ. For instance there is a poem that tells of the author’s heritage and how America is not the only place in the world. This poem is called “The United States is Not the World.” There are also poems that tell of her memories, for instance the “Museum” talks about them going to visit a museum that they only saw and knew by recog
Nov 20, 2014 RLL52014_Whitney rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry-plays
Honeybee by Naomi Shihab Nye is a collection of 82 poems and vignettes based on her life, all while circling back to the theme of Honeybees. Overall, I felt the poems and vignettes were interesting. Some made me smile or laugh out loud, such as 'Museum', 'Accuracy', and 'This Is Not a Dog Urinal'. These stories and poems really puts you in the moment and I felt like I was walking in someone's home mistaking it for a museum, or listening to a little girl talk (especially in the current day and ...more
Nina G.
Feb 18, 2013 Nina G. rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, chapter, print
This book is a collaboration of eight-two poems that do not follow a specific theme or topic. Many of the poems are based on the author's personal experiences. The poems range from anything to honeybees to the wars going on in present day. The author is an Arab-American and the book has some poems about her heritage and childhood memories. One poem I found particularly interesting is how she finds it difficult to live in the United States because of her heritage.The author is not afraid to speak ...more
Nov 16, 2014 RLL52014_JennyAnderson rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-plays
Honeybee is a collection of 82 poems and short stories. Naomi Shihab Nye covers such topics as family bonds, war, politics, and the environment, and she ties the collection together with imagery of buzzing honeybees. Many of the poems and prose are memories that the author shares, and there is a mix of humor, pain, and insight. For example, “Museum” tells the story of when she and a friend mistakenly wandered into someone’s home when they meant to visit a museum down the street. It was funny ...more
Nov 29, 2014 Alison rated it did not like it
Shelves: 520poetry
"Honeybee" is a collection of short stories and poems that reflect on different issues that occur and are faced in the real world. When I started reading this book, I enjoyed some of the short stories. For example, there was a story about how two girls were searching for a museum and accidentally entered someone's home. They wandered around looking at their belongings all while the home owners are sitting in their living room wondering what two strangers are doing in their house. This ...more
May 25, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 8th-grade
This was a poetry book that really made you think. Many phrases made you wonder what the writer was going through.

It wasn't a fullt story but just short, pretty poetry that makes you wonder. For example, there was one poem called Consolation that goes like this:

This morning the newspaper was too terrible to deliver so the newsboy just pitched out a little sheaf of Kleenex

I loved how it made little sense at first galance but lets your brain work.

Another poem called Before I Read The Kite Runner,
Ciara Alamillo
Oct 23, 2012 Ciara Alamillo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-8, poetry, bees
Honeybee is a book with compiles of different poems in it. The topics vary from bees to 9/11, there is no set topic for this book which makes it an interesting one to read. The writing of the poems make you feel what the writer is feeling and connects with the reader.

I really like how there is an array of poems about anything you can imagine. I also like how the poems are an easy read because to be honest, I really do not like poems. This book can be used to discuss basically any
RLL52014_KellyMcGushin Mcgushin
I read Naomi Shihab Nye’s young adult novel, Habibi and loved it! I must admit I liked her young adult novel more than Honeybee. Her words, in Honeybee bring out so many thoughts, questions, emotions and images and are brilliant but this collection of poems and short prose had much more about politics than I had expected. I did enjoy reading her short stories the most because they were so captivating.
Some of these poems are right from the author’s experiences and others are about politics, and o
Melody Savage
Feb 23, 2011 Melody Savage rated it really liked it
Honeybee is a collection of Nye’s poetry and short prose. Her central themes are modern political and environmental concerns, our modern busyness, and the role of failure, mistakes, and disasters in helping us reach different successes in new directions.

These poems and prose are bits and pieces of a real character - the author. She has strong opinions and a clever way of giving us snapshots of her world from her point of view. My favorite piece is called “Museum,” about a funny, awkward mistake
Audience: The poems and short stories are different lengths so various readers are capable of reading them. The context and inferring is at a higher level so this book is good for adolescents and avid readers(age10 and up). The poems are fun and relate to the real world in some instances.

Appeal: The poem about the conflicts happening in the writer's life, like the country politics, is interesting because it shows how to express opinions through writing. Readers that enjoy learning about another
Madison Gervais
Mar 19, 2013 Madison Gervais rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-6, poetry

Honeybee is a culmination of 82 poems all written by Naomi Shihab Nye. The poem topics vary from her childhood to nature to on going wars. The poem lengths vary and are all different styles.


This is a good book to introduce structures of poems and how poems are written. There really is no specific meaning to the book but it does allow you to get another view on nature.

Classroom Connections:

Like I said before this a good book to dissect poems and introduce poems in general. I w
Sep 30, 2008 Dusty rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
As a collection of poetry, Naomi Shihab Nye's Honeybee is an unexceptional success. The poems here are easily read and digested. Even those that lambast Bush are written in a clever cutesy way and do little to add semblance of an "edge" to this project. Still, I found more here to like than dislike. And I was never offended in any way, as I was with the Shihab-assembled Poems from the Middle East anthology I read earlier in the year. Strangely, it was Shihab's prose that gripped me most. Between ...more
Ci546_tyara Simpson
I enjoyed Naomi's poetry and prose. Although it was written from her point of view, I could identify with several of her poems, and they allowed me to view life from her point of view somethimes throughout my readings of the poetry. I can understand how her poetry and prose is geared more toward older students (middle and even high school aged) because it focuses on topics such as war, politics, and society, which students this age can relate to more than younger ones. Nevertheless, I feel that ...more
Aug 24, 2008 Adrienne rated it really liked it
I'm a Nye fan, for sure. I love her ability to take a moment and turn it quietly momentous, and this book is filled with lovely connections, meditations, wonderings. There's a great little story about her misadventures wandering into a house she thinks is a museum and irritably declining assistance from the homeowner, whom she thinks is a guard; one about a conversation with a man in a slump who's dressed as a baked potato at a Halloween party; another about the connections made with strangers ...more
Nov 16, 2014 Rll52014_rachelrabinowitz rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-plays
Honeybee is a unique collection of short poems and stories written by Naomi Shihab Nye. The author writes poems about many different topics and often includes short stories about her life growing up, her interest in honeybees and other animals, or strange occurrences that have happened to her throughout her life. Nye is extremely interested in honeybees and how humans can learn from them and their lifestyle. The theme comes up in many of her pieces.

I really enjoyed reading Nye's work. She touche
Sep 29, 2014 Tristan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Actual Rating: 4.5 (Rounded Down since it isn't five stars because of some three-star pieces.)

This was so much fun. I really like Mrs. Nye's voice. It is wise and witty and wonderful, perfect for a modern poet. I loved most of the collection, but I especially like the pieces: "Sunday", "Letters My Prez Is Not Sending" and "Hibernate", but the whole collection was incredibly enjoyable. I did not like the pieces, "Your Buddy Is Typing", which was a cool idea but fell flat for me and "Someone You W
May 19, 2010 Terri rated it really liked it
This short collection of poetry and short fiction is recommended for grades 6 - 10, but the cover looks like a child's book, and the material contained within is more appropriate for an older audience. With that said, it was a good read.

The pieces contained in the book are loosely tied together by the theme of honeybees. Nye focuses, literally and figuratively, on bees and their work ethic, their sense of community, their means of communication, their disappearance, their importance in the natur
Mar 22, 2011 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2011
"Watch us humans as we enter our rooms,remove our shoes and watches, and stretch out on the bed with a single good book. It's the honey of the mind time. Light shines through our little jars."

Although, I freely admit that this book was not what I had expected, even so it has a definitive quality that shines through as I read it. I believe that this quality is transforming in nature through the various elements that were brought up throughout each poetic source shared in this book.

More found at
Apr 03, 2009 Robyn rated it really liked it
I would have given it 5 stars, but I wasn't crazy about the war poems. I'm weird with politics, so...

There are so many good poems in here you must read it. She wrote some funny prose as well, one was about her and her friend wanting to go to a museum, when they get there they find out that they didn't exactly end up in one.

The poem, "For My Desk" ends "A purple martin mother and purple martin father solve it all." How fun is that to say over and over.

In "Password" she ends it with, "I have slep
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Naomi Shihab Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University. She is a novelist, poet and songwriter.

She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She was elected a Chancellor of the Acad
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“I am looking for the human who admits his flaws
Who shocks the adversary
By being kinder not stronger
What would that be like?
We don't even know”
“Only in words on a page can it still be yesterday.” 3 likes
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