live on demand romkids

ROM Storytime: “Stellaluna” by Janell Cannon

Read aloud with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The book cover of Stellaluna showing an illustrated bat clinging awkwardly to a branch while three birds fly in the background.

Visit ROM Storytime for a discussion of children’s books for young learners with ROM educator Sarah Elliott. 

This week, we explore Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. Stay tuned after the story summary for a Q&A on how the story connects to ROM objects, and try a story-inspired creative activity.

Creativity Challenge
Sticks, leaves, grass, and sunflower seed shells are arranged into a scene of a bat landing in a nest containing three baby birds.

In the story this week, Stellaluna had to adapt and figure out how to get things done with what was around her, at least until she got back home to her bat family. For this week’s creativity challenge, we will use what is around us to recreate a scene from the story.

If it’s a nice day and you have access to an outside space, you might want to use what you can find outside. You can also create your scene from objects you find inside your home.

  1. Think about the setting and characters you need to create for your scene. This could be a scene from Stellaluna, or any other story you really like.
  2. Gather the objects you will need. Check with the adults around you to make sure you can use them.
  3. Arrange your objects to create your scene. Remember, you will need to put down the things in the background first!
  4. Take a picture of your scene.
  5. If you’re feeling really inspired, use an app like Stop Motion Studio to animate your scene!
  6. Share your scene with us @ROMtoronto #ROMathome
Frequently Asked Questions
A small brown bat hangs upside down on the opening of a seed pod.

Why do bats hang upside down but birds perch on branches?

Because they fly in different ways. Bird bones are hollow, making them very light, so it’s easier for birds to take off while standing on the ground or perching on a branch. Bat bones are denser, and it would be very hard for them to take off the way a bird does. Instead, by hanging upside-down, all bats need to do is let go and fall! Gravity does the work for them, and when they’re moving fast enough, they can open their wings and fly!

A small brown bat with spread wings perches on a large white flower to drink its nectar.

What do bats eat?

Most bats eat insects. Around southern Ontario, one little brown bat can eat a thousand mosquitoes in one night!  Many bats eat fruit, from Stellaluna’s favourite meal of mangoes, to vanilla pods, and even pepper berries! Some bats drink nectar from flowers, playing the role of a bee in their environment by pollinating the flowers they drink from. A few bats eat meat, and only three species of bat drink blood.

Two small model bats perch on the shingles of a model house in a museum gallery.

Where do bats live?

It depends on the species of bat. Some bats live in caves, but in southern Ontario, it’s more common for bats to live in hollow spaces like dead trees. Because humans don’t like to leave dead trees hanging around in cities (they could fall and break something!), this forces bats to move into other hollow spaces, such as between shingles on a house. To help shelter bats (and keep them out of your attic), you can buy or make bat houses to place around your home or school!

Explore More

Authored by: Kait Sykes

Authored by: Kait Sykes