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  • Writer's pictureClover

Bee-Loved Books

If you’re craving a break from winter’s monotony, February delivers. This festive month offers us a bright break from the ordinary with a celebration of love and kindness on the 14th.

Your buddy Clover feels the holiday pull of optimism and hearts each student in Buzzville. She’s thrilled to share her “Bee-Loved Books,” sweet reads sure to sugarcoat the sting of endless gray. Page On!

The Community Literacy Foundation, with support from it's sponsors, provides these books to 38 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Youngest Read

Light up your mug with “Slug in Love,” a fetching new book in rhyme sure to grant all a fun time. Kids will sprout grins reading this story, its narrative complimented by Nadia Shireen’s colorful, uncluttered illustrations.

The book stars a slug named Doug who “needs a hug.” Doug consistently misses the love boat. He seeks affection in all the right places from creepy-crawlies he thinks might be interested in him, but he’s shot down time and again.

Oh the hurtful complaints Doug must stomach: he’s too “Grimy, slippy! Squelchy, slimy! Icky, mucky!” and “Yucky, sticky!” Comments that cut to the quick made by Doug’s failed dates, an ant, an earthworm, a spider and caterpillar.

Finally, Slug happens onto a real looker—Gail the snail. She sports lips as red as cherries, cat eye glasses and a shell that mimics a leopard skin coat. The couple even visits romantic Paris to view the Eiffel Tower, but their romance falls flat.

Doug is lonely once more, but not for long in this cute tale certain to make Cupid pink-up with pleasure.

Middle Read

Trying to define love is as elusive as trapping a dream in a Mason Jar. Love is gossamer and unique, a theme that permeates “What is Love,” by the amazing Mac Barnett.

In his new book, brilliant Barnett focuses on a little boy who approaches his beloved grandmother asking her what love is. Because his granny is up in years, he assumes she will have the answer. Instead, the wise woman suggests the boy go out into the world and answer the question for himself.

He approaches an avid fisherman hugging his catch. “Love is a fish,” the man says. “It glimmers and splashes, just out of reach. And the day you catch it, if you know what you’re doing, you give it a kiss and throw it back into the sea.”

Perplexed the boy journeys on, repeating his question to an array of people and creatures. Each offers a different answer but finishes by telling him “You don’t understand.” And the boy doesn’t. When he returns home to report his findings to his grandmother, he finally discovers his long-sought-after answer.

Perfectly rendered illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis further enhance this meaningful read, one certain to impact readers.

Oldest Read

The love shared between family and friends comes to life in “Willodeen” by Katherine Applegate, best known for her must-read “The One and Only Ivan,” and its sequel “The One and Only Bob.”

This time round, Applegate delights with the tale of 11-year-old Willodeen, an orphaned girl. After the loss of her family, two older, kind mother figures, who believe in potions and miracles, take Willodeen in. They support and care for her, as does her new friend Connor Burke, a boy with artistic talents.

Willodeen also befriends Duuzuu, a hummingbear, a tiny bear with wings—flying cuties that were once rife in her community but aren’t migrating as much, their number dwindling. An Autumn Faire is held annually to celebrate the return of the hummingbears, but it’s now in question. Many villagers blame the hummingbears scarcity on less comely creatures, the screechers, despised vermin that make screaming noises and smell as bad, or worse, than skunks.

Gentle Willodeen has a soft spot for animals that others find offensive. When Connor presents her with a model of a screecher he’s made, a happenstance occurs that puts Willodeen front and center in a real screecher’s life.

This wonderful heroine rises to the occasion in a book that celebrates connections and the marvelous balance found in the natural world. Illustrations by Charles Santoso help children envision the curious creatures Applegate brings to life.

Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2022, Community Literacy Foundation. Reprinted with permission.

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