The best bat books

Who picked these books? Meet our 11 experts.

11 authors created a book list connected to bats, and here are their favorite bat books.
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Halloween in America

By Stuart Schneider,

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

Lisa Morton Author Of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

From the list on the history of Halloween.

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.

Lisa's book list on the history of Halloween

Discover why each book is one of Lisa's favorite books.

Why did Lisa love this book?

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.

By Stuart Schneider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Halloween in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Next to Christmas, more money is spent on Halloween decorations and novelties than on any other holiday. This wonderful book has been credited with inspiring the Halloween collecting craze, giving its devotees a chance to celebrate the holiday all year round! In addition to color photography and a brand new price guide, there are also many fascinating insights into Halloween. Most people are familiar with the symbols-ghosts, Jack-O'-Lanterns, witches, bats, skeletons, and black cats-but few know about Halloween's past. Why does it exist? What is the origin of trick-or-treating? Why does it fall on October 31st? Through these pages you…

Bats of the Republic

By Zachary Thomas Dodson,

Book cover of Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel

McKenna Miller Author Of Wyrforra (Wyrforra Wars)

From the list on with weird writing styles.

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.

McKenna's book list on with weird writing styles

Discover why each book is one of McKenna's favorite books.

Why did McKenna love this book?

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.

By Zachary Thomas Dodson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bats of the Republic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Archetypes of the cowboy story, tropes drawn from sci-fi, love letters, diaries, confessions all abound in this relentlessly engaging tale. Dodson has quite brilliantly exposed the gears and cogs whirring in the novelist’s imagination. It is a mad and beautiful thing.”
--Keith Donohue, The Washington Post

Winner of Best of Region for the Southwest in PRINT’s 2016 Regional Design Awards

Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design.

     In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave…

Bitsy Bat, School Star

By Kaz Windness,

Book cover of Bitsy Bat, School Star

Nyasha Williams Author Of I Am Somebody

From the list on encouraging kids to step into their power.

Who am I?

I identify as an author, creator, and activist and when I write, I write calling forth the world that our Ancestors dreamed of and deserved and our future generations need. We often forget the power we have as individuals and how that power is amplified in community. I write towards that power being recognized in kids and for them to see how any change they step into can be nurtured and expanded by others. Stepping into Ancestral Veneration, I realize that I never write alone. My Ancestors are always present in my writing, co-creating towards building a sustainable, regenerative, just, decolonized, Indigenized, and liberated world. 

Nyasha's book list on encouraging kids to step into their power

Discover why each book is one of Nyasha's favorite books.

Why did Nyasha love this book?

Kaz Windness, the author-illustrator wrote Bitsy for herself and anyone who is neurodivergent and experiencing something for the first time.

Bitsy is nervous about starting school and her family makes space for her to practice and prepare for her first night at school. She begins school and tries to go about the day in ways that feel natural to her but is quickly judged by others, being expected to do things the way her classmates do things.

While Bitsy had a rough first day, she is reminded that she is a star by being herself. She steps into her power and heads into her second day of school to help others do the same. My biological niece from my maternal-side was just recently diagnosed with autism. I was happy to be able to add this book to her bookshelf as she is navigating the world. 

By Kaz Windness,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bitsy Bat, School Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A little bat struggles to fit in only to learn to celebrate differences in this heartfelt picture book from an autistic perspective about starting school, making friends, and seeing what makes each person special.

Bitsy is a little bat with big star dreams of making friends at her new school. But when she arrives, Bitsy doesn't feel like she fits in. The other kids sit on their chairs, but sitting upright makes Bitsy dizzy. The other kids paint with their fingers, but Bitsy would rather use her toes. Everyone tells Bitsy she's doing things wrong-wrong-wrong, so she tries harder...and ends…

Bat Bomb

By Jack Couffer,

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

David Andrew Westwood Author Of Kelsmeath, 1940

From the list on the weirder side of World War II.

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.

David's book list on the weirder side of World War II

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

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.

By Jack Couffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bat Bomb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was a crazy way to win World War II in the Pacific-

All the United States had to do was to attach small incendiary bombs to millions of bats and release them over Japan's major cities. As the bats went to roost, a million fires would flare up in remote crannies of the wood and paper buildings common throughout Japan. When their cities were reduced to ashes, the Japanese would surely capitulate...

The plan made sense to a handful of eccentric promoters and researchers, who convinced top military brass and even President Roosevelt to back the scheme. It might…

The Bat-Poet

By Randall Jarrell, Maurice Sendak (illustrator),

Book cover of The Bat-Poet

Rebecca Chace Author Of June Sparrow and the Million-Dollar Penny

From the list on to reach for in the middle of the night.

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.

Rebecca's book list on to reach for in the middle of the night

Discover why each book is one of Rebecca's favorite books.

Why did Rebecca love this book?

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…

By Randall Jarrell, Maurice Sendak (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Bat-Poet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A combination of prose and verse for children, complemented by illustrations.

Stray Bats

By Margo Lanagan, Kathleen Jennings (illustrator),

Book cover of Stray Bats

Eugen Bacon Author Of Danged Black Thing

From the list on short stories in literary and speculative fiction.

Who am I?

I am an African Australian author of several novels and fiction collections, and a finalist in the 2022 World Fantasy Award. I was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’. I have a master's degree with distinction in distributed computer systems, a master's degree in creative writing, and a PhD in creative writing. The short story is my sweetest spot. I have a deep passion for the literary speculative, and I write across genres and forms, with award-winning genre-bending works. I am especially curious about stories of culture, diversity, climate change, writing the other, and betwixt.

Eugen's book list on short stories in literary and speculative fiction

Discover why each book is one of Eugen's favorite books.

Why did Eugen love this book?

Margo Lanagan’s mini-collection Stray Bats is an exceptional showcase of refined writing—less is always more. Powerful bite-size vignettes in this dark illustrated miscellany of micro fiction and prose poetry encompass rhyme, beauty, and something most sinister. Offering up constellations, maidens in flight, familiars, hag hunters, vixen wives, and spirit girls, this kind of dark, fantastical writing and the ghosts of its graphics haunt you for a super long time…

By Margo Lanagan, Kathleen Jennings (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stray Bats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dachshund droids, mad crones, shapeshifting children, a plethora of witches, dragonstalkers, familiars, slithering eels and, of course, bats, flit and fly through these pages, aided and abetted by Kathleen Jennings’s deft and inspired pencil drawings. Stray Bats is a glorious miscellany of vignettes based on poems by Australian women. While some of the pieces hie close to the originals in form and theme, some stray far, far from them even as Lanagan delights in playing with language, rhyme, and rhythm.

This could be the perfect gift for that slightly otherworldly person in your life—or for yourself, when you need a…

Sand Dancer

By Trudie Skies,

Book cover of Sand Dancer

Steven Wilton Author Of Queen of Crows

From the list on fantasy set in strange new worlds.

Who am I?

Back in the dark ages, before the internet and cell phones, the most common form of off-duty soldiers’ entertainment was reading. I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on, but I was always most excited to read fantasy and science fiction. If a book has a wild new world, magic, or tech, I’m in and usually can’t get enough. I remain a cross-genre reader to this day, but fantasy and science fiction always feel like home. Bonus points for dragons.

Steven's book list on fantasy set in strange new worlds

Discover why each book is one of Steven's favorite books.

Why did Steven love this book?

This fantastic desert world where fire magic is common, but taboo, sucked me in right from the start. Although the main character is a young adult, I connected with her right off the bat. Her struggles as a possessor of fire magic and learning to control it, are daunting, but I couldn’t help rooting for her. Then, there are many strange and dangerous creatures to boot. I was left guessing and worrying if she’d succeed right to the end.

By Trudie Skies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sand Dancer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


By Janell Cannon,

Book cover of Stellaluna

Christine Ieronimo Author Of The Purple Pail

From the list on bringing children together in acceptance and kindness.

Who am I?

I'm passionate about a world of kindness and inclusiveness. Growing up, I loved to write stories, but reading was hard. My eyes would go over the words but the meaning wouldn’t get to my brain. So I stopped writing. We must start with little children, making sure they believe in themselves, presenting issues of acceptance, diversity, and social justice. I've published two books on this theme and am working on two more. I talk to school classes and the media, and travel to Ethiopia, where I'm involved with their clean water project. I 'm involved in sustainable projects that improve health and education for children and young women. Please visit my website to learn more.

Christine's book list on bringing children together in acceptance and kindness

Discover why each book is one of Christine's favorite books.

Why did Christine love this book?

Stellaluna is about a little fruit bat who becomes friends with three young birds Pip, Flitter and Flap under the most unlikely circumstances. It is a story about unconditional acceptance and love. Stellaluna becomes separated from her mother and is taken in by the family of birds. The four friends discover many things that are different about bats and birds. Those differences only strengthen their bond. “How can we be so different and feel so much alike”. This story was a favorite of my children growing up. Stellaluna teaches empathy, kindness and the beauty of embracing our differences, not to mention that the illustrations are gorgeous. It is a book that should be on every child's bookshelf.

By Janell Cannon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Stellaluna as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Knocked from her mother's safe embrace by an attacking owl, Stellaluna lands headfirst in a bird's nest. This adorable baby fruit bat's world is literally turned upside down when she is adopted by the occupants of the nest and adapts to their peculiar bird habits. Two pages of notes at the end of the story provide factual information about bats. "Delightful and informative but never didactic; a splendid debut." - Kirkus Reviews AGES: 4 to 7 AUTHOR: Janell Cannon's picture books have won many awards and are beloved around the world. She is the author and illustrator of Verdi, Crickwing,…