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Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  515 ratings  ·  112 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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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable collection, combining the whimsy and joys of observation with deeper themes of war, immigration, and climate change. Nye is quite a prolific writer, and I am glad to have started here.
It is so weird to feel (almost) nostalgic reading protest poems about the Bush administration.
Jun 02, 2009 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
Jennifer Mangler
This is the second collection of poetry by Nye that I've read and very much enjoyed. I love how she celebrates the small, beautiful moments that make up the best of us. It seems that some readers object to the politics in some of her poems, but I see it as an important part of her reflection on humanity. And the McNay Museum story? I really needed the chuckle I got from that one.
Sadie Roman
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this!
Nadine Jones
May 02, 2016 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
Apr 21, 2008 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 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
Richie Partington
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multiple-poems
28 January 2008 HONEYBEE by Naomi Shihab Nye, Greenwillow, March 2008, 176p., ISBN: 978-0-06-085590-7; Libr. ISBN: 978-0-06-085591-4

Bees Were Better

"In college people were always breaking up.
We broke up in parking lots,
beside fountains.
Two people broke up
across the table from me
at the library.
I could not sit at that table again
though I did not know them.
I studied bees, who were able
to convey messages through dancing
and could find their ways
home to their hives
even if someone put up a blockade o
Steph Lovelady
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really nice collection of poems and prose poems. I especially liked the prose poems, which are like tiny short stories, really well done, some funny, some touching, some both. There's a bee motif running through it, unsurprisingly. My favorites were "Museum," which can't be described without ruining it and "Gate A-4" about how an unexpected community forms among people waiting for a delayed flight. It ends "This can still happen anywhere. All is not lost," which nearly made me cry. There are a ...more
Hanna rass
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of poems that Naomi Shihab Nye has written. I the beginning she tells a story about how when she was in college she took this class where they studied all types of animals. She picked bees, so for a whole semester she studied bees and at the end she gad to write a essay on what she had learn about them. Throughout the book she tells many stories and poems, at first you might not realize it but they all tie back to the story in the beginning. I love how creative she was, she ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My ability to speak objectively and/or insightfully about poetry is terribly lacking, but I do want to say this about Honeybee by Naomi Shihab Nye: I learned after I acquired my copy, but before I started reading it, that it is a "kids book." I read it anyway, knowing that often times books aimed at a younger audience can contain great, beautiful truths made slightly more accessible than a book meant for adults. That turned out to be the case with Honeybee. That said, this book never seems to be ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it
This book took me forever for being mainly a book of short poetry.
The premise is honeybees, which is something I have interest in and have read books about before but about halfway through, I was done with it. It felt like all the poems were forcefully pulled back to be about honeybees when they could’ve stood in their own and been much better.
As I reached the last quarter of the book the authors work became more political and stopped mentioning bees every piece. I liked this point a lot more
Loren Prato
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Honeybee is a book composed of poetry and prose that mix memories, science and social issues. The focus shifts continually from honeybees, to the continuing violence in the Middle East, to memories of childhood, to specific situations in which people manage to transcend their own differences.

I had never read a book of poetry and prose before, and I absolutely loved it. I will definitely use this someday in my class to introduce poetry, prose, and figures of speech. It is not too hard of a read,
Amy Layton
Nye, using honeybees and their language as inspiration, writes many beautiful poems about the delights and sorrows of everyday life. Experimenting with both verse poetry and paragraph poetry, she succeeds in demonstrating just what’s so special about living, and what’s so special about her culture and her hometown and her family. Her poetry is certainly more serious in nature, and would be best for the introspective youth, perhaps interested in writing their own poetry. This anthology is perfect ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The writing is fantastic. I enjoyed so many of the poems and I didn't expect some of them to be so funny.

There is a significant airing of grievances with the politics at the time. I appreciate the snapshot into what the author thinks or thought of the situations she writes about. What took away from it for me was the one sided, divisive bitterness. It was written in such a way the reader is left with only two options, the option to sympathize or to be offended by the author's views and it feels
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Definitely some 4 & 5 star work in here but overall I’m more like 3.5 I don’t understand this book being on the shelf in my elementary school library (here before I arrived). Many themes that would not resonate with kids! Many themes about being older & looking back, Time, war... I loved the ending piece “Gate A-4” ...more
Abigail Rothwell
This poem book is filled with 80 more poems students and teachers can work with. I love how the poems talk about where we would be without just one little honeybee. It is important for students to feel important to children. They need to feel they make an impact into society and that poem book does just that. And talk about light, love war and more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poems and short prose pieces, many about honeybees, but also personal memoirs, prayers, pointed commentary on the American invasion of Iraq, literature, neighbors, children, and life around San Antonio, Texas. There are tales of sorrow and joy.

Oddly, the library where I borrowed this book had this title classified as children’s poetry, but it is clearly written for an adult audience.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This may be my favorite work yet from Naomi Shihab Nye. Funny enough to make me laugh out loud at moments, serious enough to bring me to tears. I love the combination of poetry and short prose. This is Nye at her finest.
Her work is sometimes my own voice and always the voice I want to be.
The first thing that connects you with the book is its size. It is "diminutive" compared to most books, and that's okay. It gives the reader a sense of holding something special and getting "sneak peeks" at the world. This is a sweet book. ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Charming and touching collection. I liked a lot of the poems, but I think the prose really stood out for me. Favorites are the story about the museum, the essay about the school, and the final story about the airport.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the themes in this book, but the execution just didn’t cut it for me. Some of the poems I just didn’t connect with and American culture was a heavy theme throughout the books. I didn’t enjoy the verse as much as the poetry, but I did like the messages the author was trying to get across.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
beautiful collection of poems. thoughtful and reflective anthology regarding middle eastern heritage and how it translates into western society.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
i thought this book was really good! i really like poetry so i loved a bunch of the poems in this book. i’m glad i picked this book to read:)
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
These will break your heart. Read them anyway.
Farah Fitria Sari
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't think it would be political, hence the not-5 rating. But overall it has great insights, as always expected from Nye.
Molly Walker
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
*3.5 stars*

I made my way through this book slowly over the course of few months, picking it up as the mood struck me. I loved Nye's use of honeybees throughout her writings, both in literal and metaphorical senses. I particularly enjoyed the final essay, "Gate A-4" and the sense of global unity and togetherness it captured.
Charles Collyer
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, fiction
Poetry and short prose pieces. I like her work here a lot.
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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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