I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reader copy, (ARC), from @WaldenPondPress of A Boy Called Bat, written by Elana K. Arnold, with illustrations by Charles Santoso.This is a warm, tender, enchanting story of a third grade boy nicknamed Bat, for the initials in his name, which stand for Bixby Alexander Tam.
Bat’s mom is a veterinarian and Bat wants to be one when he grows up. He loves animals and finds that he can often relate to them better than people. Although it is never specifically mentioned, the reader will realize that Bat is not like every other 3rd grader. He has trouble making eye contact, occasionally flaps his arms when frustrated and struggles with any type of change, including every other weekend at his dad’s.
When Bat’s mom brings home an orphaned skunk, with the intention of fostering the baby kit until he can be returned to the wild, Bat has a different idea! He desperately wants to keep the baby skunk, now named Thor, as a pet, and sets out to convince his mother that he is old enough and responsible enough to do so.
Although on the surface it may appear to be an animal book, Arnold takes us into the world of a child on the autism spectrum and the difficulties these children face with every day life. Every reader will come away with a better understanding and appreciation for all differences, not just those experienced by children with autism.
Many schools participate in a One Book One School program. To embrace the notion that “everyone reads”, all the people in a school or even community, receive and read the same book. I think A Boy Called Bat would be a wonderful choice. It is a very well-told story and would definitely generate some important conversations.
This is a book that should grace the shelves of both elementary and middle schools and can be enjoyed by any age. You can find some additional teacher resources here: Teacher resources
Win a signed copy of this book by joining my blog, (litcoachlou.blogspot.com) or tweeting about this review on Twitter. (Earn two entries if you do both!) My handle is @litcoachlou and the raffle will close on Monday, April 3, 2017.