Children’s Picture Book: 1-4
Stars: 5 (out of 5)
Summary: In this story a young bat is separated from her mother when she falls out of her tree and into a bird’s nest. Stellaluna is raised as a bird, although she finds herself very different from her bird brothers and sisters. In the end, Stellaluna is reunited with her mother, though she continues to spend time with her bird friends.
I never read this book as a child, but had heard a lot about it, so I figured that it was time to give it a shot. What I really like about this book is the mix between fiction and nonfiction. Although this is a fictional story, there is a lot of nonfictional information about bats and birds incorporated into the story. Following the story, there is a few pages of information about bats as well, providing an additional learning experience. The story itself is very touching, for it is portrays the friendship between two animals that are so different, yet end up living together in the same nest. Though Stellaluna has difficulty with many of the bird activities and tastes, she does her best to appreciate them. She also does not hesitate to try all of them, suggesting that she is flexible and willing to make the most out of her situation. While some might sulk in such a situation, Stellaluna rises to the occasion and thus has a positive experience. This is an important message for children: no matter what, they should always face new challenges and activities with an open mind and a positive attitude. Additionally, they should be willing to learn from one another, even their classmates who might be very different from themselves.
I would use this book in my classroom to talk about tolerance of one another’s cultures, habits, and lifestyles. While we may not all be accustomed to the things that our classmates might be, it is okay, and the best we can do is to learn from one another. The end of the story highlights this point, as Stellaluna has the opportunity to teach the birds how to eat and sleep like bats. Through our experiences, we are able to learn more about the world, helping us appreciate our own lives as well as those of others around us. This story would also be a means to discuss and share times when my students have been in situations where they feel out of place and like they might someplace unfamiliar and frightening. My guess is that many students have felt this way before, and by sharing with one another, my hope is that we could help create a strong and safe classroom environment. There are those universal themes throughout this story that I would bet many of my future students could relate to and bond over.
Another application for this book would be during a lesson on bats or other animals. It would also be an appropriate way to begin introducing nonfiction to those students who make be reluctant to read nonfiction. Since this story incorporates a bit of both, it would help those reluctant students transition and recognize some of the features of nonfiction.