JHUPLI’S HONEY BEE BOX
By: Achintyarup Ray
Illustrated by: Shivam Choudhary
Published: October 24, 2023
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
First published in India, kids can get a peek into the lives of the Bengalize as a young girl waits for her dad to return from gathering honey from the jungle. In the Sundarban region between India and Bangladesh, people travel into the jungle to gather honey. This area is home to the largest mangrove forests in the world and is full of dangers including crocodiles, snakes, and the Bengal Tiger.
In the story, Jhupli is worried when her Baba, her father, isn’t yet back from his jungle trip to gather honey. She worries because one day her uncle went into the forest and never returned. But, their family needs this world-famous honey to sell in the markets. This is their income and how they put food in their bellies.
When Baba returns, Jhupli is happy but knows that the next time he goes that gather honey, she will still be worried. She shares this worry with her teacher remembering that one time honey bee boxes were provided for people of the village. What if her Baba had his own honey bee box in their backyard? Then he wouldn’t have to risk danger by going into the forest.
Our family, as well as our church family, have often purchased animals as part of the Heifer project. This organization provides animals or bees to families so that food or income may be provided to the family or a whole village. This book reminded me of how we can provide something so small ($30 for a Bee Package) yet can change the life of an entire family or village. This is how Jhupli and her teacher find a way to keep her Baba safe while also providing an income for her family.
This book provides an important lesson that not all kids can just go to the pantry or the grocery store to get food, and that there are cultures around the world that depend on nature’s resources to provide food and income for their families. The end of the book includes an explanation about the people of the Sundarbans and honey bee boxes. The gorgeous color palette and painted illustrations make this book stand out among others. Read this book and then research how your family might be able to help another family across the world through organizations that provide a Honey Bee Package, a Goat, a flock of chicks, or other animals.
Achintyarup Ray lives in Calcutta, a large city in India, but his mind lies in the village where he spent many early years of his life. He works as a journalist. His passions are reading, writing, and translating the books he loves. He has a special interest in people and the environment. Jhupli’s Honey Bee Box is his first book for children. Follow him on Instagram @achintyarup.
Shivam Choudhary is a visual artist who lives in Chhattisgarh, in Central India. He can mostly be found sitting under a tree, painting pictures; pondering ideas; and chasing sunsets. He tries to observe and absorb the mundaneness of his surroundings and take pleasure in the little joys of life. Follow him on Instagram @bhukkkad.