The best bat books

4 authors have picked their favorite books about bats and why they recommend each book.

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The Bat-Poet

By Randall Jarrell, Maurice Sendak (illustrator),

Book cover of The Bat-Poet

I love this book because A) the illustrations by Maurice Sendak are beautiful, and B) It's a story about a bat who stays up during the day, when the other bats are sleeping, and writes poems about what he sees. It's a book for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood, or didn't fit in, and created art out of that experience. I think all writers feel this way, and probably most people at some point no matter what they do or create in the world. It's also a book about friendship, with a bat, a chipmunk, and a mockingbird, and all of the characters are so vivid and distinct. There are also some actual poems, written by the bat, of course, and as you're reading and looking at the incredible line drawings by Maurice Sendak you can see the world the way the smaller animals around us experience the world…

Who am I?

I'm a writer who has mostly written books for adults, as well as plays and screenplays, and June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny is my only book for children (so far). Though I read a lot of adult literature I have never stopped reading children's books. I always keep a "comfort" book on my bedside table for the middle of the night. I think that a really well-written, timeless children's book can teach us, comfort us, and take us on a journey. No matter what age you may be, I hope that you will read these books, or revisit them even if you think you are "too old" for children's books.

I wrote...

June Sparrow and the Million-Dollar Penny

By Rebecca Chace,

Book cover of June Sparrow and the Million-Dollar Penny

What is my book about?

June Sparrow and her best friend—a miniature pig named Indigo Bunting—have always been fine on their own. June is a fabulously wealthy orphan who's lived in New York City her whole life. On June's twelfth birthday, she suddenly loses her fortune and is forced to move in with an aunt she's never even met in the tiny town of Red Bank, South Dakota. June has to live on a farm with her grouchy Aunt Bridget, who sees her best friend as potential bacon! One day, June finds a mysterious "Penny Book" that her mother used to keep. She's instantly intrigued by what her mother called the Big One, the rarest and most valuable of all pennies. Finding it could be June's ticket back to New York and her old life. But is that what she really wants?


By Janell Cannon,

Book cover of Stellaluna

This is another favorite book of my children when they were young. Also a 25-year anniversary book, the words and illustrations are both done by the author. This story covers a few big emotions for children. It begins with separation and loneliness but ends on a positive note of courage and an unlikely friendship.

Stellaluna is a baby fruit bat who is not old enough to fly. One day she unexpectedly falls from her nest. Now she is alone and lost. She clutches onto a branch but ends up falling again, this time into a bird's nest. Can a bat become a bird? Do they eat the same things and do they like to sleep at the same time? This is a wonderful book and the illustrations are divine. I recommended this book because it is a book that I will be reading to my grandchildren.  It is a book…

Who am I?

My name is Susan Marie Chapman and I am an award-winning Children’s Book Author. I have written over fourteen children’s books. I grew up on a farm surrounded by animals and nature and my seven sisters and brothers. Wow!! My goal is to get as many books into the hands of children that I possibly can. You see, reading books, especially picture books, is a way for a child to see the world through the pictures and words of a book. It creates imagination and excitement and fun and questions which lead to answers which makes you smarter. So read, read, read, until you run out of books, which will never happen.

I wrote...

Grumpy the Iguana

By Susan Marie Chapman, Natalia Loseva (illustrator),

Book cover of Grumpy the Iguana

What is my book about?

Grumpy the Iguana was a happy iguana until something happened to him that changed his mood from happy to grumpy. Grumpy’s life was perfect. He had a daily routine that was perfect for him. He had a perfect little tree home and he had neighbors and friends that loved him. This was Grumpy’s perfect life until his world was turned upside down. No one could say anything to make Grumpy feel better. Until one day he met someone that changed his life.

Bat Bomb

By Jack Couffer,

Book cover of Bat Bomb: World War II's Other Secret Weapon

Strange, sick, and if this doesn't constitute animal cruelty I don't know what does, Project X-Ray planned to strap incendiaries to bats and drop them to roost on Tokyo's roofs, burning down the city and shortening the war. A dentist who had explored New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns conceived this idea, then approached the White House, where President Roosevelt surprisingly said, “This man is not a nut."  

The military duly tested the plan, and the bats burned down a brand-new airbase, effectively sending the project up in flames. And a good thing, too. I shudder to imagine the anxiety of a crew ordered to fly a planeful of explosive bats all the way to Japan.

Who am I?

I grew up in London, and while I was born sometime after WWII, its devastation was still clear in my bombed suburb and in the stories from my family. My father and his brother served in the Royal Air Force, and an Austrian aunt had managed to escape the rest of her family's fate in Auschwitz. I've had five nonfiction books published when I decided to write a biography of my uncle David Lloyd, an RAF Spitfire pilot killed in 1942. Sadly, little information was available from his military records. All I had was a photograph of him in his plane, looking young and confident. I went on to write nine books set during WWII, and five during WWI.

I wrote...

Kelsmeath, 1940

By David Andrew Westwood,

Book cover of Kelsmeath, 1940

What is my book about?

In 1940, twenty-year-old pilot Daniel Lamb is stationed at RAF Kelsmeath. Invasion by Nazi Germany is expected any day, and unbeknownst to the young men, the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Rosalind Ainsworth, a young woman he’s known since they were children, contrives to get transferred to a hospital near him. They try to make their relationship work, but instead, she falls for one of Daniel’s squadron, a braggart and, some believe, a coward.

Daily battles in the air against the Luftwaffe’s best mix with more intimate conflicts on the ground until summer’s end, when Britain's luck holds against invasion, but Daniel’s luck in the air runs out.

Bats of the Republic

By Zachary Thomas Dodson,

Book cover of Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel

Bats of the Republic is by far one of the most engaging, unique reading experiences I have ever had the delight to enjoy. The breathtaking art decorating every page (and I do mean every page, from the copyright page to the back of the dust jacket) enhances a deep and intriguing story.

One of my favorite parts of this book is that every piece of writing you encounter comes from one of the characters in the story. This makes for a completely immersive experience as you flip through maps, examine drawings of new animal species, and even uncover a few secret messages. Dodson’s incredible art and one-of-a-kind narrative style create a complex, deep world that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading and writing stories for as long as I can remember—and the weird ones have always been my favorite. I discovered many of my favorite books by wandering into my local library, telling the librarian about my strange reading interests, and allowing them to set me up with literary masterpieces of the most unusual kind. Once I knew how to bend the rules of genre and form to create something original, I took to creating my own weird stories, and have been doing so ever since in my novels, short stories, D&D characters, and bedtime stories for my bird.

I wrote...

Wyrforra (Wyrforra Wars)

By McKenna Miller,

Book cover of Wyrforra (Wyrforra Wars)

What is my book about?

When an army of unknown invaders attack, the United States - and perhaps the whole world - finds itself woefully unprepared. The deadliest part of the planet-wide assault is not how swift and ruthless the attackers are, but rather the fear that these people aren't quite human.

For a thrilling ride on a post-apocalyptic emotional rollercoaster, dive into Wyrforra and see if humanity is ready for a global attack from within.

A Boy Called Bat

By Elana K. Arnold, Charles Santoso (illustrator),

Book cover of A Boy Called Bat

This tenderhearted book is narrated by Bixby Alexander Tam (Bat), a boy who falls in love with the orphaned baby skunk his mom brings home. I love that Bat’s autism has a role in the story—his challenges understanding other people cause friction and school and with his sister—but it isn’t the only focus of the book. Bat’s big problem is convincing his mom to let him keep the skunk kit. Readers are drawn into his unique worldview as he experiences friendship, family, and skunk-parenting.

Who am I?

I’ve been an elementary school classroom teacher and teacher-librarian for over 25 years and I’ve had the privilege of teaching many amazing students with neurodiversity. I was inspired to write the Slug Days book when I was teaching a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I wrote the book to imagine what life might be like for that student so I could be a better teacher. I believe a school library should represent all our students and I’m always on the lookout for excellent books that feature neurodiverse characters.

I wrote...

Slug Days

By Sara Leach, Rebecca Bender (illustrator),

Book cover of Slug Days

What is my book about?

A charismatic illustrated novel about the ups and downs of school and home life for one little girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

On slug days Lauren feels slow and slimy. She feels like everyone yells at her, and she has no friends. On butterfly days Lauren makes her classmates laugh, goes to get ice cream, or works on a special project with Mom. With support and stubbornness and a flair that’s all her own, Lauren masters tricks to stay calm, understand others’ feelings, and let her personality shine.

Halloween in America

By Stuart Schneider,

Book cover of Halloween in America: A Collector's Guide With Prices

Published in 1995, Schneider’s book was the first to suggest that vintage Halloween memorabilia had value to collectors, and it didn’t just open the floodgates for books on Halloween collectibles, it exploded the entire market of Halloween collecting. Thanks to Schneider’s volume, prices for Halloween items ranging from turn-of-the-last-century postcards to 1950s costumes exploded. Whether you're a collector (which might be like me!) or just a fan of Halloween, the book is packed full of glorious images of bygone Halloweens.

Who am I?

As a kid growing up in Southern California during the 1960s – what some now call “Golden Age of Trick or Treating” – I always loved Halloween, but I didn’t develop a real obsession with it until I wrote The Halloween Encyclopedia (first published in 2003). Since then, Halloween – once almost exclusively an American celebration – has achieved global popularity, and has created an entire cottage industry in haunted attractions. I remain fascinated by Halloween’s continuous expansion and evolution.

I wrote...

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

By Lisa Morton,

Book cover of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

What is my book about?

Halloween has spread around the world, yet its associations with death and the supernatural as well as its inevitable commercialization have made it one of our most puzzling holidays. How did it become what it is today?

Trick or Treat is the first book to examine the origins and history of Halloween and to explore its current global popularity. Festivals like the Celtic Samhain and Catholic All Souls’ Day have blended to produce the modern Halloween, which has been reborn with new customs in America—but there are also related but independent holidays, especially Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Lisa Morton lifts the cobwebs off everything from the explosion in popularity of haunted attractions to the impact of events like the global economic recession, as well as the effect Halloween has had on popular culture through literary works, films, and television series.

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