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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Interview: Gillian McDunn, author of The Queen Bee and Me

I'm thrilled to have author Gillian McDunn stopping by today to chat about her new upcoming middle-grade book, The Queen Bee and Me...

The Queen Bee and Me 
By Gillian McDunn 
March 3, 20202 
Bloomsbury Children’s Books 

Meg has been friends with confident, self-assured Beatrix since kindergarten. She's always found comfort in Beatrix's shadow—even their families call them Beatrix-and-Meg. But middle school has brought some changes in Beatrix, especially when Meg tries to step outside her role as sidekick. Upsetting Beatrix means risking The Freeze—or worse. 

Meg gets into a special science elective and wants to take the class, no matter what Beatrix thinks. But when quirky new girl Hazel becomes Meg's science partner, Beatrix sets her sights on Hazel. At first, Meg is taken aback at how mean Beatrix can be—and how difficult it is to stand up to her friend. But as Meg gets to know Hazel while working on their backyard beehive project, she starts to wonder: What's it really like to be the Queen Bee? And more importantly: Is being Beatrix's friend worth turning down the possibility of finding her own voice? 


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Q1. What three words best describe your book, The Queen Bee and Me? 

Friendship, science, beekeeping! 

Q2. Grab a copy of The Queen Bee and Me and answer the following: 

Favorite chapter? Chapter 24 (cafeteria scene).  

Favorite page? The very last one.  

Favorite setting? Ms. Dupart’s classroom 

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: 
 “I can’t believe you ate the bee-butt honey,” Beatrix whispers. 

Q3. What inspired The Queen Bee and Me? How did the story come to bee? 

Friendships are wonderful, but sometimes they can be tough. Watching my kids grow up and navigate these dynamics has made me reflect on situations in my own life. A lot of books have described bullying, but I was especially interested in “tricky” (sometimes called toxic) friendships—what happens when a friend is sometimes nice and sometimes not-so-nice.  

Q4. Can you tell us a bit about your main character Meg? What makes her special and what do you love about her? 

Meg is a keen observer who is trying to figure out her world. I love her loyalty—it’s part of why she feels so torn in her friendship with Beatrix. I also love that she makes mistakes! (And tries her best to fix them.) 

Q5. What do you hope readers learn and/or take away from The Queen Bee and Me? 

I hope readers will explore the idea that some best friends aren’t forever. Also, I hope that parents and kids will read the book together and have some honest discussions about friendship dynamics.  


Q6. In The Queen Bee and Me, Meg is working on a beehive project...what’s the neatest bee fact you learned while writing this book? 

One interesting honey bee fact is that worker bees have barbed stingers, which means they can only sting once--the barbs rip out the stinger, which creates a fatal injury to the bee. Queens have smooth stingers, so they can sting again and again. (Usually this would be in a fight for dominance against another queen.) 

Q7. Fill in the blanks: 

I’m really awesome at making scrambled eggs. 

I’m really embarrassed to admit how many pairs of socks I have. It’s more than one drawer full.  

The last great book I read was IN THE ROLE OF BRIE HUTCHENS... by Nicole Melleby. Brie is an eighth grader and soap opera super fan, and is extremely likable. In the story she’s dealing with growing up and coming out. I loved so many of the relationships and characters in this book! 

Q8. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Queen Bee and Me, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it? 

Cupcake flavor: honey-lavender (bees love lavender!) 
Filled with: orange-ricotta frosting (some things are even better once you dig into them)  
Frosted with: vanilla bean frosting tinted to match the pink on the cover Isabel Roxas created (I adore the cover!) 
Topped with: bee marshmallows, swirls of spun sugar, and crunchy honeycomb candy. 
It would be called BUZZ-WORTHY!  



GILLIAN McDUNN is the author of the middle-grade novels CATERPILLAR SUMMER and THE QUEEN BEE AND ME, published by Bloomsbury Children's Books. Visit her online at www.gillianmcdunn.com or @gillianmcdunn on Twitter & Instagram. 

1 comment:

T Drecker said...

This sounds like a fun book. Enjoyed the answers, too!