Sting – honey bee novel
Finalist in NZ Post Children’s Book Awards, Sir Julius Vogel Awards,
and a Storylines Notable Book
‘Wonderfully imaginative story’ – Magpies
‘Adventure with a sense of humour.’– North and South
A honey bee book for children aged 7 to 12. See also the companion novel, Wings.
- Blends animal fantasy, sci-fi, and bee biology.
- Environmental and anti-war themes.
Sting is a children’s novel about Ziggy the honey bee. He’s rejected by his hive, kidnapped by the human military, befriends bumblebees, fights Killer Bees, and finally discovers the truth about himself. Published by Walker Books. For great classroom ideas/teaching notes, download pdf.
Why did you write Sting? When I was a child, I was terrified by a swarm of bees but then a few years ago someone gave me a strange birthday present: a beehive full of bees, and I was hooked. I wanted to write the kind of book I loved as a kid, with a small hero like the Hobbit – Tolkien spoke of ‘the indomitable courage of quite small people against impossible odds.’.
Where did you get the plot ideas? I read about army scientists training ‘sniffer bees’ for war zones — that made me angry. Then I saw beehives in an isolated valley (photo ) and imagined Ziggy living there. When the mysterious disappearance of bees hit the news, it motivated me further. I didn’t want it to be a cartoonish fantasy so I made their behaviour realistic – eg. the way Ziggy navigates. (Read the latest on sniffer bees here).
Where did you learn about bees? From beekeepers and scientists who study the secret life of bees. I read fantastic books like Sweetness and Light by Hattie Ellis. Her quote at the start of Sting sums up the book – every tiny creature is vital – everything is connected.
Sting and The Prisoner: The bees always say ‘Bee seeing you’ – it’s from a TV show called The Prisoner about a man trapped in a village. He was called Number 6 and always shouted, ‘I am not a number! I am a free man!’ I imagined Ziggy felt like The Prisoner in his hive.
Find out all about bees.
‘With wit in dialogue and sympathy for the classic outsider, Huber makes Ziggy delightfully credible.’ — Diane Hebley, NZ Books
‘There’s every bee joke you could ever imagine.’ — John McIntyre, National Radio
‘Appealing to that often neglected group of readers — boys.’ — Vanda Symon
‘… Through the plot is woven a subtle lesson about the biology of bees… any child who likes to watch insects will absolutely love this book.’ — Sandy Fussell, Reading Stack
‘The fast paced action makes the story fun to read aloud… — Read Plus
‘Wonderfully quirky’ — Book Award Judges
‘When Sting ended I thought I might dream about it every night after that!’
‘I am up to the part when Ziggy is riding on the explosion… it is so good that it is hard to stop reading.’
‘Your book is very interesting (I don’t mean weird). I couldn’t put it down.’
‘Hey Sting, your book rocks.’