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Zinnia and the Bees
Zinnia and the Bees
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Award Winners Reviewed Titles

Zinnia and the Bees

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 best friend, Adam, she's devastated to discover that he's gone — with no explanation. Zinnia’s day surely can't get any worse . . . until a colony of honeybees inhabits her hive-like hair! Infused with magical realism, Danielle Davis delivers a quirky, heartfelt debut, exploring both the complex life of a young loner and a comical hive of honeybees. Together, these alternating and unexpected perspectives will touch anyone who has ever felt alone, betrayed, or misunderstood.

PublisherCapstone Young Readers
Age Level9-12 Years
Reading LevelGrades 4-7
Trim Size5 1/4 x 7 1/2
Page Count240
Paper Over Board



Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books - KQG

"Bee-infested hair makes a strange premise, but it works reasonably well, with chapters narrated by Bee providing absurd humor but also speaking to Zinnia’s feelings of confusion and powerlessness, feelings that she can’t always articulate in her own narration. Her frustration comes through loud and clear, though, until she realizes that it might be her own anger and selfishness that is driving people away. . . .it’s pleasing there’s a happy ending for Zinnia, and it’s an added bonus that the bees relocate to a more fruitful home." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews

"Davis' debut demands that readers check their disbelief at the door. . . .But she manages to keep it together, embedding readers in Zinnia's believable, often funny perspective with occasional cutaways to the bees, who narrate their side of the misadventure in a wry collective voice that combines snippets of bee biology with fancy (they break dance to "combat despair"). Bee cognoscenti will scoff at the sheer ridiculousness of the premise, but its extreme silliness works its own magic to mitigate this. . . .decidedly offbeat and emotionally true." - Kirkus Reviews

June 15, 2017


School Library Journal - Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA

"Despite the outlandish premise, Davis does an excellent job crafting human characters who are varied in their emotions and grow in awareness. The solution to Zinnia’s problems is believable and clever yet still leaves room for change. A good fit for a larger collection looking for unusual books on friendship and growing up." - School Library Journal

June 1, 2017

Booklist - J.B. Petty

"Adding a dollop of magic realism, Davis alternates between Zinnia’s story and the bees’ predicament, both atop their disappointingly pollen-free host and as a species struggling in the world at large. Readers will empathize with Zinnia as she wonders about her missing brother, deals with her mother, and renews fractured friendships. As they follow the bees’ activities, they’ll learn apian facts and gain insight into what is happening to bees in the U.S. This fascinating and unusual look at family, friendships, and insects is a good match for Robin Stevenson’s The Summer We Saved the Bees (2015)." - Booklist

June 1, 2016


Publishers Weekly, "Buzzworthy Books About Bees" - Natasha Gilmore

"This middle grade novel dabbles in magical realism, as a girl’s troubles are made worse when a honeybee hive makes a home in her hair." - Publishers Weekly, "Buzzworthy Books About Bees"

May 31, 2016


Book Riot

Children's Book Gift Giving Guide: Middle Grade

December 1, 2017

Powell's Books

Best Kids' Books of 2017

December 1, 2017

Southern California Independent Booksellers

2018 SCIBA Book Award Finalist

July 1, 2018

Danielle Davis

Danielle Davis

Danielle Davis grew up in Singapore and Hong Kong and now lives in Los Angeles where she reads, writes, and roller skates. She's earned an M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing and her short stories have been published in literary magazines. She's had the privilege of teaching English to middle school and community college students and currently volunteers with literary orgainzations in L.A. Zinnia and the Bees is her first novel.

Go to the Author’s Page →