Amara and the Bats
Written and Illustrated by: Emma Reynolds
Published by: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2021
As Halloween approaches, fall is a great time to think about bats and their role in our ecosystems. Bats live all around the world on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Did you know that bats are vital for pollinating plants and dispersing seeds for tree and plant growth? Bats are also responsible for 70% of the tropical fruit we eat!
Everybody geeks out over something, and for Amara it’s bats. But with her family’s move to another community, Amara finds that her new local park has no bats around. Amara becomes inspired by real-life teen activists who are changing the world, and eventually Amara takes action to join her new school and neighborhood communities in making their local park more bat-friendly.
Bats are often misunderstood. One of their biggest threats is human-induced fear based on false information. Sharing Amara and the Bats with young children (and their families!) will help others to understand the truth about bats, and to share those facts with others.
This book’s empowering storyline encourages youth to dig deep into a hobby to spark interest in others with their own passion.
Find your own favorite species
Amara really loves bats. What do you love? Try to find something interesting about your local environment. What special, unique, or misunderstood species might make your backyard their home?
Amara knows many interesting bat facts. Which ones surprised you? What plant or animal might you like to learn more about?
Conduct some of your own research to investigate facts on your special species.
Get to know some young and amazing environmental activists
Amara reads nature magazines to help keep her informed of current events and environmental issues, on not only the subject of bats but also lots more. Her magazines tell stories about real-life efforts of young people taking action on behalf of the environment.
The text alludes to the following five teenage environmental superstars that have made an impact across the globe.
Take a few moments to learn more about them and get inspired yourself:
Jerome Foster II is an African-American emerging technology developer, voting rights advocate, and climate justice activist. Jerome is the youngest member serving on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. He has helped to organize three of the top ten largest climate marches across the Washington, DC area. Learn more at: https://www.instagram.com/jeromefosterii/
Tokata Iron Eyes is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who has been confronting injustice since she was nine years old. At this young age, she testified against a uranium mine in the sacred Black Hills (South Dakota). She is a youth leader of “Rezpect Our Water,” a campaign against the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Learn more at: https://www.earthguardians.org/speakers-bureau/tokata-iron-eyes
Dara McAnulty is a teenage author with autism, a naturalist, and a conservationist from Northern Ireland. Dara wrote a book called Diary of a Young Naturalist (2020), in which he explores his relationship with nature, campaign work, and the everyday challenges and joys of being autistic. Learn more at: https://daramcanulty.com/
Ridhima Pandey is a teenage climate activist and TEDxspeaker from India who was featured in BBC’s list of 100 most empowering and influential women of 2020 for her actions against climate change. When Ridhima was nine years old, she filed a suit against the Indian government for not taking enough steps to combat climate change. Learn more at: https://www.instagram.com/ridhimapandeyy/
Greta Thunberg is a teenage activist from Sweden who has become one of the world’s well known climate campaigners. Greta started protesting outside the Swedish parliament in 2018, when she was only 15 years old. One year later, she received the first of three Nobel Peace Prize nominations for climate activism. Learn more at: https://www.instagram.com/gretathunberg/
Contribute to a healthy habitat
Amara has an idea to improve bat habitat in her local park – make bat houses!
Building and installing a bat house can make a difference for bats in your community, too. Download The Bat House Builder’s Handbook from Bat Conservation International to learn about different types of bat houses – including unique plans for bat nurseries and bat communities – as well as tips on installation, color choice, and trouble shooting. You can also opt to purchase a pre-made bad house from a certified vendor, such as Audubon.
Amara’s community also adds water habitat and more native plants to support the return of bats to their park. What does your favorite species need to thrive? And how can you take action to help enhance their habitat where you live?
Learn more about bats
A handful of bat facts are presented at the end of the book, including a child-friendly and diagram-supported explanation of echolocation. Want to hear evidence of bats using echolocation? This section mentions the use of a “bat detector device” that can convert bat sound waves into a frequency that human ears can hear. Obtain a device, identify the frequency of your local bats, and listen in.
Bat Week is an annual, international celebration of the role of bats in nature. Bat Week is celebrated the last week of October each year. You can visit the Bat Week website (https://www.batweek.org/) to learn more about why bats are important, identify bats in your state or region, and help teach others about amazing bat facts… and lots more! Begin your own bat odyssey today and be sure to also bookmark our page full of fun, free activity ideas to celebrate.
Consider using Amara and the Bats with the following activities from PLT’s Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide to explore local wildlife, habitats, and action you can take to support them both:
- Backyard Safari
- Discover Diversity
- Fallen Log
- Trees as Habitats
- Life on the Edge
- Improve Your Place
- Plant a Tree