This lyrical, poignant nonfiction picture book tells the fascinating story of the honeybee colonies that lived on the roof of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and survived the devastating 2019 fire.
High above the bustling streets and gardens of Paris is a little-known wonder: a cluster of beehives. They sit atop the roof of the Notre-Dame cathedral, lovingly tended to by a beekeeper named Sibyle. But when fire broke out in the catherdral in 2019, the bees almost didn’t make it. Firefighters battled heat and smoke, carefully spraying their hoses around the hives, pumping in water from fireboats on the Seine, and, miraculously, they survived.
Meghan P. Browne and E. B. Goodale imbue the story of Notre-Dame’s bees and the fire that almost killed them with great hope. After the fire, there is rebuilding to be done, but with hard work and collaboration, perhaps the cathedral can be restored after all. From the rooftops of Paris to the intricacies of a beehive, here is a moving picture book about resilience in the face of disaster.
About the Author
Meghan P. Browne received her MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut picture book, Indelible Ann, was named the 2022 Texas Great Read and received a starred review from Kirkus. She is also the author of Dorothy the Brave. Meghan lives on and runs a farm in South Austin, Texas, called the Honey Browne Farm, where she raises bees. Visit her on the Web at meghanpbrown.com or on Twitter at @meghanpbrowne.
E. B. Goodale is an author and illustrator who comes from a background of printmaking and letterpress printing. She made her foray into picture books with Windows by Julia Denos, which received an Ezra Jack Keats honor for illustration and was an ALA-ALSC Notable book for 2018. She has illustrated a handful of other books for children and is the author of Under the Lilacs and Also. Visit her on the Web at ebgoodale.com or on Instagram at @ebgoodale.
★ "A focus on bees is an unexpectedly engaging angle to this account of the 2019 fire atop the Notre-Dame de Paris."—Booklist, starred review
"Emphasizing resilience, this tale effectively captures a fascinating episode in recent history." —Kirkus Reviews
"Browne's lyrical picture book tells the story of the bees who call Notre-Dame home and the fire that threatened their hives." —The Horn Book
"Graceful prose by Browne pays homage to Paris’s venerable Notre-Dame cathedral, and to the bees that lived atop it before its 2019 fire."—Publishers Weekly