In this post, we feature author Meghan P. Browne, whose previous titles include Indelible Ann: The Larger than Life Story of Governor Ann Richards, a Texas Library Association Bluebonnet Master List selection. You can hear her speak about her new nonfiction picture book, The Bees of Notre-Dame, and try her “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!
- Written by Meghan P. Browne and illustrated by E. B. Goodale
- Published by Random House Studio, an imprint of Penguin Random House
- Release date: October 17, 2023
High above the bustling streets and gardens of Paris is a little-known wonder: a cluster of beehives. They sit atop the roof of Notre-Dame cathedral, lovingly tended by a beekeeper named Sibyle. But when fire broke out in 2019, the bees almost didn’t make it. Firefighters battled heat and smoke, carefully spraying their hoses around the hives, and, miraculously, the bees survived. Author Meghan P. Browne and illustrator E. B. Goodale imbue this story of Notre-Dame’s bees with great hope. From the rooftops of Paris to the intricacies of a beehive, here is a moving picture book about resilience in the face of disaster.
Listen to Meghan P. Browne talking with TeachingBooks about creating The Bees of Notre-Dame. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.
- Listen to author Meghan P. Browne pronounce her name.
- Listen to illustrator E. B. Goodale pronounce her name.
- Sample the e-book of The Bees of Notre Dame on OverDrive.
- Explore TeachingBooks’ collection of activities and resources for The Bees of Notre-Dame.
Invitation to Imagine
TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Meghan P. Browne.
Imagination Activity with Meghan P. Browne
When I started my research for this book, I travelled to Paris to immerse myself in the setting of the book I knew I wanted to write. I took notes in my journal of things I smelled, tasted, and touched; I took pictures of things I saw; and I captured videos of street performers. All of these sensory details came in handy when it was time to write the story.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a place you have visited. Maybe it’s a relative’s house, a park near where you live, somewhere that you have travelled to in real life or in your dreams. While your eyes are still closed, begin to think about the things you can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste in this setting. Once you have given yourself a few minutes to really imagine this world with your eyes closed, write down five things you see, four things you hear, three things you smell, two things you touch and feel, and one thing you taste. I wonder which one thing from your list you’d most like to share with your group.
Finish This Sentence . . . with Meghan P. Browne
As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Meghan P. Browne’s response.
“Some surprising things that help me work are…”
One surprising thing that helps me write is listening to music from the time period or location of the book I’m working on. I’ll listen to music that my protagonist may have enjoyed, or I’ll imagine the kind of soundtrack that would play if my book were made into a movie. This helps me get into the right frame of mind to meet my characters and write their stories.
Also, sometimes when I’m working on a big project, I’ll take intentional 15-minute breaks to visit with my animals. In addition to our honeybees, my family raises Boer goats and chickens. A short visit with the animals in our pasture keeps my mind fresh and always makes me giggle.
“I hope my book encourages readers to think about…”
I hope this book encourages readers to look to the natural world for all kinds of inspiration: even examples of resiliency and cooperation!
More Connections to Meghan P. Browne and The Bees of Notre-Dame
- Discover books like The Bees of Notre-Dame on TeachingBooks.
- Penguin Random House’s page about The Bees of Notre-Dame, written by Meghan P. Browne and illustrated by E. B. Goodale.
- Buy The Bees of Notre-Dame, written by Meghan P. Browne and illustrated by E. B. Goodale.
All text and images are courtesy of Meghan P. Browne and Penguin Random House and may not be used without expressed written consent.