Batty About Differences

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Simple Synopsis: In this delightful tale about a baby fruit bat that is separated from her mother and finds her way into a nest of birds, little Stellaluna learns many lessons about the customs and rituals of birds as she adapts to her new family. From the frustration of having eat give up fruit for bugs to the embarrassment of learning to land gracefully on a branch, our book's hero learns to respect the bird behavior, rituals, traditions and culture. Flitter, Stellaluna's adopted bird brother, beautifully summarizes the book's theme when he asks, "How can we be so different and feel so much alike?"

Read aloud being sure to share the brilliant illustrations. Use the following or similar questions to discuss after sharing the story:
1. In what ways did Stellaluna's mother act responsibly to care for her baby?
2. How is Stellaluna forced to be open-minded?
3. In what ways could Mama Bird be more open-minded?
4. What does perseverance mean? Tell how Stellaluna showed perseverance.
5. Why did Stellaluna have to promise to abide by the rules?
6. Give an example of loyalty in this story.
7. How do you think it felt when Stellaluna realized that she was hanging upside down? Does it ever seem like her whole world has turned upside down?
8. Do you think it's important to respect the ways of others even if they're different from yours? Why?
9. Despite many differences, Stellaluna came to really care about her bird family. What can we learn from her about acceptance and respect?
10. What do you think it means to "agree to disagree?"
11. Do you have friends that are different from you in some way? Have your differences ever caused problems? How did you resolve such problems?
12. Are there some people that you don't know well but that you assume you could never be friends with? Why?
13. Have there been times when you've done something just because everyone else was doing it? Does going with the crowd and blending in make life easier?
14. Have there been times when you felt you had to go against the crowd and do things your own way? What happened?
15. Stellaluna learns a great deal about being a bird through this sweet little tale. Encourage students to write a reflective point-of-view essay with a prompt that goes something like this:  Imagine that you are Stellaluna. What must it really have been like? From the loss of your mother to your abrupt introduction into the world of your fine feathered friends, you had a lot of adjusting to do. Detail your experiences crossing cultures and describe your reactions to and feelings about your journey.

Click here for the C.U.T.E.S.T. song - My Whole World Turned Upside Down - sung by Stellaluna herself in an animated movie version of this treasure.


  1. I love this lesson! It is a great one for all age levels. It encompasses so many traits: empathy, caring, friendship, perseverance, responsibility, loyalty, compassion--walking in somone's shoes, and accepting differences. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Barbara:

    Thanks for an ENTIRE lesson plan--and a good one at that!
    This is part of my day-after-Halloween survival plan...

    Happy day!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  3. Oooo, Kim, let me know how it went today. LOVE that you're infusing character-development lessons into your sixth-graders' lives! They're blessed to have you.



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