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Zinnia and the Bees

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  110 reviews
A colony of honeybees mistakes seventh-grader Zinnia’s hair for a hive ― and that’s the least of her problems.

While Zinnia's classmates are celebrating the last day of seventh grade, she's in the vice principal's office, serving detention. Her offense? Harmlessly yarn-bombing a statue of the school mascot. When Zinnia rushes home to commiserate with her older brother and
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Capstone Young Readers
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Schizanthus Nerd
It begins with twelve year old Zinnia yarn bombing Ronny, her middle school’s rattlesnake mascot, with her older brother the day before summer vacation. After spending the day in detention because someone outed her as a knitter (we never find out who did this), Zinnia thinks her day can’t get any worse. Before the day is over, 4,000 bees have taken up residence in her hair and she discovers her brother is missing.
Adam told me once that he was named Adam and I was named Zinnia because our dad w
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
YA 10+.. I didn't enjoy this read as much as the cover attracted me to it. I started reading like it could happen to someone in real life and it dragged on for this reason. Halfway through I changed my mindset to read it like I was watching a cartoon and that's when I enjoyed it more but still not enough.

Zinnia's brother leaves home one morning leaving her angry and distraught. She meets a boy named Birch that same day after a swarm of bees attack her hair and decide to live in it until they fi
Ⓟⓔⓐⓒⓗⓨ Ⓚⓔⓔⓝ Ⓡⓔⓐⓓⓢ
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone


Beautiful. Just lovely. A wonderful book for a debut author. Danielle Davis hits the spot with this sweet and memorable book. Zinnia's Flossdrop yarn bombs the school's mascot and gets detention on the last of school! If things couldn't get any worse she finds out that her best friend and her brother leaves without letting her know. And to top it all off, a nice of bees land on her head. Zinnia's goe
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I was provided a free ARC of this book.

I could not stop cracking up.

It's been a slog for me lately finding Middle-Grade that's both appropriate in scope, and not too thin or trivial with plot. There's a really careful balance to strike between language, humor, and emotional depth, and ZINNIA hit all the right notes for me.

The bees are on a quest—they're tired of being captives, taken by truck from one place to another, never having a true home. Zinnia is also on a quest—to find her b
Anna Priemaza
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
ZINNIA AND THE BEES is the book of ten year old me's heart.

ZINNIA is having a rough time. Her older brother has disappeared, her mom’s obsessed with “usefulness,” her friends aren't talking to her, and her yarn bombs keep getting her in trouble. Oh, and a lost colony of bees is using her big, unruly head of hair as a hive. That's right, hundreds of bees are living on her head.

From the first moment I heard of this book, I knew I would love it. I mean, I have an entire wall in my house devoted to
Karin Schott
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am reading an early manuscript of this novel.

Can I just say how much I love this book? I LOVE this book! Maybe it is the knitting. Maybe it is the deftly handled issues Zinnia is confronted with, nothing earth shattering but ultimately real. Perhaps it is the unfolding of a lovely friendship. Or perhaps it is the bees and their small collective reflection on what it is like to get stranded on a girls head, contemplating their collective existence. 50 pages to go. I can't wait to see how everyo
Erin Kelly
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully original; had a Roald Dahl vibe. I’m so thrilled it’s had so many great reviews. As a side note, I find it hilarious that there are a few people who didn’t connect with the book because it “wasn’t realistic.” Um ... it’s a book about a girl who has a literal beehive (?!) Sheesh. Imagination, people! It’s a gorgeous thing.

Bravo to Zinnia. <3

Adam told me once I was named Zinnia and he was named Adam because our dad wanted his kids to experience everything in the world from A to Z. That’s how I used to feel with Adam, like we had all the letters of the alphabet connecting us.

But now he’s left me here, a dangling Z.

I’ll turn thirteen next year. Will Adam even be here?

ZINNIA AND THE BEES is about a girl named Zinnia who is stormed by a colony of bees, who confuse her curly hair for their hive, and in trying to remove or shake th
Wow, why did I wait so long to read this book? It came across my feed in January, and I thought it sounded interesting, so I ordered it from Amazon. But with one thing or another, it sat on my bookshelf until now. I decided to start the book tonight, and I really meant to read one or two chapters before heading off to bed. But umm...I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting. I really loved it! Besides the fact that bees settled into into Zinnia's head of hair as a hive and acted rather u ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: junior-fiction
Love this middle-grade book. Very positive, lgbtq+ friendly... <3 great little read!
Miranda Rosbach
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A delightful debut middle grade novel. The friendship between Zinnia and Birch (BZ) was especially well suited to the plot and the ingenious solution to Zin's bee problem was thoughtfully executed. I hope we'll see more of this charming character in the future. ...more
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All the stars!

This book is absolutely genius and I love everything about it! Really.. Zinnia is a funny, sweet girl who knits (yard bombs) to de-stress.. She has a distant relationship with her mother, her father died when she was a baby, she thinks her friends deserted her, her BFF older brother has disappeared... and if that's not enough a swarm of bees have taken up residence in her hair. Yikes! Luckily she meets a new friend, Birch, and they navigate their summer woes together. Birch, by the
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had the opportunity to read an ARC of this novel through my #BookRelays friends (and also a digital ARC through NetGalley) and I think that middle school readers will definitely be attracted to the unique plot line and the well-voiced characters. Zinnia has just finished seventh grade by getting herself in trouble for yarn-bombing the school mascot with her older brother, Adam. But when she gets home from school, he has left the family mysteriously, without so much as a note. Adam's abrupt dep ...more
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the words of Zinnia's Aunt Mildred: "bravo, bonbon." This book is stunning and everything a modern reader could hope for. Its handmade sentiments and DIY sophistication are woven through a journey of family, friendship, and creativity.

From bees breakdancing to binocular-clad friends in plaid, the aesthetic oozes movie potential and is a delight to imagine. It would make a fantastic read-aloud in the middle/upper grades and is a dream of a classroom conversation starter.

The story inspects fam
"Everybody needs to feel at home. Even if it's not exactly, perfectly the kind of home you always thought you wanted."
Oh, ZINNIA, I love you. You are proof that we weird loners can find our homes, too--even in the most unexpected of places and with the least likely of people. You are proof that in the midst of some of the zaniest changes of adolescence, there are people who will stick with you, reach out, and listen (even as others leave). You are proof that none of us, no matter how much we try
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When Zinnia’s older brother and best friend, Adam, disappears without a proper goodbye, Zinnia is left feeling very alone. This changes slightly (although not in a good way) when a colony of bees decide that Zinnia’s hair makes for a good temporary home. Told in alternating perspectives, between Zinnia and the bees in her hair, this is a story about finding your home, and balancing the feelings of change.

Although, I don't normally read books with animal (or in this case, insect) viewpoints, the
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Having bees in your hair is an interesting concept for a book , that and the fact that the young Zinnia knitted, made me give this book a chance.

But other than inspire her, the poor bees just suffered the whole time. I suppose their little dialogues were supposed to be funny but they were painfully sad. We could have had no bees and had a good, fine story of a friendship and family dynamics.

My recommendation would be to skip the chapters with the bees. Then you will enjoy the book more.

Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Zinnia is struggling with some tough relationships and losses in her life, and is trying to navigate through it all. The cast is fun (the bees too!) and the characters each bring something unique to the story. Can't wait to see this out in the world!

I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quirky & fun, Zinnia will endure to fans of middle grade coming-of-age stories. It's a must purchase for all middle grade collections because it will hit home for many.

I received a digital ARC from NetGalley, all opinions are my own!
Amber K.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I know a lot of 9-10 year olds that are going to love this book! It's unique and original - kids will love how the bees made a hive on Zinnia's head! ...more
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Zinnia is a young girl whose mother is overbearing, her brother has disappeared under the pressure, and a colony of bees has made their new home in her hair! This middle grade novel has just the right amount of magical realism and teachable moments to make it a good read for not just the 9-12 year old age group, but for others as well.

The bees, normally creatures that I wouldn't want to be near because I don't care for insects, became sympathetic characters here. The group was formally transport
Kate Olson
Quirky and oh so original, Zinnia will be sure to charm middle grade readers!

Thanks to the author for providing the @kidlitexchange network with a copy of this book for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

ZINNIA AND THE BEES is definitely a different middle grade story, and one that will appeal to kids who love nature, knitting and cheering for the underdog in a story. Zinnia is dealing with issues that so many kids are dealing with - a working single parent, an absent father, a siblin
C.J. Milbrandt
Zinnia adores her big brother, but when Adam leaves home, she's devastated. She blames her mother, she avoids her former friends, she hates the new dog, and ... in a turn of events that requires some major suspension of disbelief ... her hair becomes the hive-of-choice for a displaced swarm of bees.

Yarn-bombing and NMLZ. Dentists and activists. Coach and Birch. Bird-watching and Bee 641. Poor Zinnia is angry and isolating herself from her proverbial colony. She's finding the worst in every situ
Casey Lyall
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zinnia and the Bees is such a fun and quirky read! It's a very cool, outside-the-box idea that will surprise readers at every turn. And it's funny! I loved all of the asides from the bees. It's got great heart too. I love a book that can balance jokes with heart and a great emotional journey. Keep this one in mind for all of the kids who are begging you for something different. I think they'll love it! ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
So much is happening in this clever book! Danielle Davis wove together:

-an errant beehive
-a disappearing brother
-a difficult mother
-yarn bombing
-bird watching
-flower bombing
-reality television

Somehow, she makes it all work! This is one of the most unique plot lines I've read. A very good read-aloud for elementary aged kids, and I think older MG readers will appreciate it, too.
QUIIIIIRKY. And cute. Definitely requires suspension of disbelief re: the bees, but everything about Zinnia's friend and family situations rings true. ...more
Dana Middleton
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This highly original and magical book is terrific. Zinnia has a missing brother, a difficult mother (the amazingly named Dr. Flossdrop!), challenging friends... And bees. In her hair. Readers will take to Danielle Davis' middle grade debut like bees to... you know. Highly recommend. ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once in awhile a middle grade novel captures the essence of its audience. So it is with Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis. Feeling abandoned and betrayed by beloved siblings leaving the nest; ignored, misunderstood, and unloved by parents mourning that same departure; and awkward among changing relationships with peers, middle grade kids cope in the best ways they know how. Prickly and difficult, for Zinnia (and so many others) that entails retreating inside her own head, a slouch, and a hoo ...more
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that bees are one of my irrational fears. Put me in a room with a bee, a wasp, anything with a stinger and a buzz, and the flying menace is the only thing I can concentrate on. It’s become a bit of a joke among those who know me well (or, frankly, those who know me at all but have been in the room with me during these unpleasant encounters).

So I was both fascinated and horrified by the description of the cloud of bees following twelve-year-old Zinnia from an ice cream parlor. Aut
May 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was super sweet and light. I thought it was super hilarious how bad her day was in the beginning, and how she went about with 4000 bees on her head. Some of the things that kinda disappointed me were: #1 how did no one but her friend notice she had 4000 bees BUZZING around in her hair?? #2 there was a gay character in the book, and for a book written for probably about 8+, that was a huge downer for me. #3 I felt like her obsession with knitting was cute, but if she uses so many differ ...more
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Danielle Davis reads and writes in Los Angeles.
Her debut middle grade novel, ZINNIA AND THE BEES, was released in 2017. Her picture book debut, TO MAKE, art by Mags DeRoma, will publish in 2022. She blogs at This Picture Book Life ( and is the creator of This Writer's Life, a series of YouTube videos that peek into the writing process for young writers (

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