By Author / Illustrator
Helen Mortimer, Katie Cottle
Paperback / softback
Themes around cultural identity and the environment are explored through Omar (a new boy from Syria) and Maisie's friendship. Omar and Me also offers an insight into international beekeeping. It is illustrated by award-winning picture-bookmaker Katie Cottle, creator of The Green Giant and The Blue Giant. Includes bee facts on endpapers and a recipe for honey cake on the end page.
When Omar, the new boy at school, brings in honey cake that reminds him of his beekeeping grandpa back in Syria, the class get talking about the importance of bees. During an uneventful playtime, Maisie comes up with the wonderful idea of creating a bee corridor through the town. This story follows the developing friendship between the two children which develops as the story progresses.
This beautifully illustrated picture book clearly tackles the destruction of bees habitats and the practical things that we can all do to help. Other issues are quietly included including acceptance of different cultures and sexuality ('Mr Ellory-Jones's husband brought us snacks.')
Omar, the Bees and Me could easily be used as a catalyst to have some real and meaning full discussions about a plethora of topics or it could be read as an inclusive, topical picture booked aimed at empowering children to know that they can make a difference. This would be the perfect book to have in a KS1 book box when covering Animals including humans in science, or to use when a new child starts.
Included in this book are many facts about bees, which could be used to focus on non fiction, and the recipe for a delicious honey cake, which could easily link to instruction writing. This is a book which create a huge number of learning opportunities.
Picture book / Reviewed by Amanda Shipton, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 5+