Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Lela Nargi


Region: New York: Metropolitan
Age Levels: 5-10
Will Travel: Anywhere in the world
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile
Speaker Email:

I'm an author and journalist in Brooklyn, NY. The Honeybee Man (Schwartz & Wade 2011) was my first picture book and garnered a lot of lovely acclaim. A Heart Just Like My Mother's, my second book (Kar-Ben/Lerner) released in January 2018; two middle grade science books I wrote for National Geographic published in August 2018: Absolute Expert: Dinosaurs and Absolute Expert: Volcanoes. Karl's New Beak  was released by Capstone/Smithsonian in March 2019. Fall 2020 will see the publication of three books in a series from Capstone: Mysteries of the Constellations, Mysteries of the Planets, Stars, and Galaxies, and Mysteries of the Universe. I'm also a veteran journalist covering a variety of topics—including science—for adults and kids.

Presentation Description:
I visit schools to read The Honeybee Man and talk about bees, beekeeping, pollinators, and sustainable cities. In New York, this tends to be part of the first grade curriculum, although I've found that grades 2-4 are really able to grasp the more nuanced concepts around these topics. But all ages of elementary kids are keen to discuss what they know and fear about bees; to taste honey samples to discover what different flavors they can discern—then guess what flowers they came from; and to talk about their own experiences with insects and nature. 

This book has also been chosen twice in the last three years as Cornell/Spoons Across American's "Agricultural Literacy Week" read-aloud pick, and used to enhance the Common Core science curriculum in classrooms across New York. It pairs especially well with curricula that include a school garden—we go out and talk about what plants might attract bees and other pollinators, and hunt around for them amid the pollen. I speak as well at special bee-related events at gardens and zoos, and for various "green" community groups.

Since I write largely about science for kids (as well as for adults), I also visit classrooms to talk about the process of researching science topics, turning science facts into a story, and how I find my way into the books I write: not only about bees and pollinators, but also about birds, bats, space, and the natural world more broadly.