In honor of Halloween and Traditional Thursdays, I have chosen the book Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. Not only is this book a beloved crowd pleaser, but it also highlights one of Halloween’s most famous figures: the bat.
Between the embedded lessons and the sweet illustrations it is hard to go wrong with this book. In the story there are two morals. One, that bats are what they are; birds are what they are. This moral can apply to people as well: we are who we are. Two, people, in this case bats are birds, can accept and benefit from each other’s differences. It emphasizes that differences should be celebrated and highlighted while stressing importance of being yourself. Bats, who are notorious for having a bad/scary reputation are perfect for illustrating these lessons. Children who feel like the outcast can relate to both Stellaluna and also, more figuratively, bats themselves.
The illustrations capture both children and adult readers. Cannon used color pencils and acrylics to achieve a furry, wide-eyed fruit bat with realistic qualities. The “Bat Notes” section at the end of the book are informative and helpful when explaining confusing vocabulary about bats. This information could also potentially spark an interest in bats or other animals. Most importantly, the books main focus is around concepts of love and friendship. The more students understand the importance of both the better.
In a classroom setting, I would use this book to discuss the importance of friendship. The book could also be used as a jumping off point to a unit on nature or bats. In addition, it would be useful when talking about fitting in and conformity, which all students feel at one point or another. An exercise would contain putting the students in Stellaluna’s shoes. What would they do and how would they feel? Would they have done anything differently?