Wings — second bee novel

Finalist Sir Julius Vogel Awards (Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Huber creates courageous characters with whom readers will empathise instantly. –Sydney Morning Herald

A Top 50 Children’s Book — Listener

Wings (Walker Books) is a bee novel for children about Ziggy (from Sting),  a young honey bee who battles the deadly threat of a new pesticide.

Reviews

This bee’s-knees sequel is worth it just for the awareness it raises of the plight of the world’s bees. Listener

Is a bee a believable protagonist? It’s a unique choice of hero but in this case it works well.  Sydney Morning Herald

What I really liked about the story, apart from the fresh, fun idea, is that the reader sees life from a bee’s point of view. ABC radio

The story zips along with plenty of page-turning excitement. It’s a superb chapter book for young readers. Jean Bennett

Buy Wings  – NZ and International

Buy Wings — Australia

The Story: Honey bees are disappearing and a scientist turns to Ziggy for help. He and his family explore Tokyo and discover a new pesticide that could destroy all honey bees. He meets Giant Hornets, goes underground and is challenged to life and death puzzle game. The novel is a fast-paced mix of animal fantasy, sci-fi and beekeeping. Themes of hope, cooperation and environment. Includes a Guide to Honey Bees.

Newspaper interview

 

Wings Teacher Notes (download pdf).

The Inspiration: When I watched some of my bees die from pesticide poisoning I knew this would be Ziggy’s next mission. Bees and humans have been partners for ages but bees are endangered by pesticides with brand names like ‘Harmony’,  ‘Admire’, and ‘Liberty’ – it was hard to match these shameless names in my story. (Read about the bee crisis.)

Most insects in our environment are beneficial: they do important ecological jobs. Yet you can go into a supermarket and buy a spray can of broad-range poison that will kill all of them. Prof. Peter Dearden

The Writing: The characters are all a part of me in a way. Torgo the hornet reflects my love of sci-fi movie monsters; Fang the snake has my enjoyment of puzzles; Wiri has my impatience and Ash my sense of humour. The characters work as a team to tackle the pesticide threat from ‘Slayer Chemicals’. The world’s problems can seem overwhelming but Ziggy won’t give up.

Why Tokyo? The Japanese have a fascination and respect for insects. I wanted Ziggy to comment on human life from an insect’s viewpoint and there are oodles of people in Tokyo: the bees encounter helicopters, bullet trains, motorbikes, lasers and the new Tokyo Tower. I learned about Japanese honey bees from Professor Michio Sugahara; they have a special way of dealing with giant hornet spies. Watch the movie (delightful subtitles not mine):

 Reviews

Wings has made me a bookworm. Katy (Year 6)

What I really liked about the story, apart from the fresh, fun idea, is that the reader sees life from a bee’s point of view. It is a fun take and one that will engage young readers.  Laurine Croasdale, ABC Canberra radio

Wings is a great sequel to Sting and is once again full of action and adventure. You don’t need to have read Sting to understand what happens as it’s a stand-alone book.  The story is told from Ziggy’s point of view and he’s a cool character who’s very brave and loyal. Zac Harding, Christchurch City Library

The characters are strong-minded individuals and the situations they find themselves in are believable. There’s mystery, danger, friendship and team work. Wrapped up in the entertaining plot are surprising facts about bees.  Jean Bennett

Great plots, clear action and strong relationships make for a great story — the main characters just happen to be bees! Dymocks

You have inspired me. I think one day I will write a book about bees. Lucy (Year 6)

…will foster an appreciation of why bees are important creatures. G Magazine