A fondness for bees and delightful childhood memories manifested an idea for a children’s book by Laura Dowdey Unger, an Alabama Farmers Federation graphic artist.
Unger, who began her career at the Federation in April 2018, is a native of Boldo in rural Walker County where she spent time as a child on her grandparents’ farm. She said the idea for the book “Bonnie Bee, One Honey Of A Story” began with a request from Federation Communications Department Director Jeff Helms who asked her to develop an agricultural brochure.
“I suggested we make the brochure about bees; then the idea morphed into a children’s book about bees,” Unger said. “The book also contains facts about bees and the positive, important role they play in agriculture.”
The book’s star, Bonnie Bee, lived in the city but felt she wasn’t doing everything she was supposed to, Unger said. After moving to the farm, Bonnie found happiness in her work as a prime pollinator.
The book shares facts about bees, including information about pollination, which is necessary for many crops, flowers and trees. Unger, 51, said her admiration for bees began back on her grandfather’s farm, but emphasized she’s not a bee expert. However, she still loves the sweet taste of honey, using it in her morning coffee each day.
“My paw-paw, Woodrow Dowdey, raised cattle and kept bees on his small farm,” said Unger, who lives in Wetumpka with husband Dennis and their three children. “As a child, I helped him when he was harvesting honey, but he wouldn’t let me get too close to the hives. My grandparents would put up quart jars of honey every summer and usually had enough left to sell. For me, bees are a living connection to my grandparents and the love we shared as family.”
Unger, who received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Auburn University, is a 28-year veteran graphic designer. She illustrated the four-color, paperback book after consulting with writers and bee and honey professionals.
Helms praised Unger’s creativity and eagerness to take on the project.
“Laura’s artistic talent and appreciation for farmers shine through in this book,” Helms said. “Since joining the Federation, she’s embraced opportunities to redesign our publications, create new logos and develop engaging graphics for print and digital communications. We are blessed to have her on our team and know readers will love her whimsical, yet educational, tale of Bonnie Bee.”
“Bonnie Bee, One Honey Of A Story” will be distributed to county Federations upon request and will be part of Farm-City and Alabama Agriculture In The Classroom promotional materials.
Books are $5 each, including shipping. To order, contact Paula Culver at PCulver@AlfaFarmers.org or (334) 613-4410.