- Boy Hook
- Character Development
- Fantasy Writing
- Grades 3-5
- Grades PreK-2
- Graphic Novel
- HIstorical Fiction
- Informational Writing
- Inspiring Writers
- Narrative Writing
- Opinion Writing
- Personal Narrative
- Procedural Writing
- Realistic Fiction
- Search for and Use Information
- Small Moment
- Strong Endings
- Strong Female
- Strong Lead
Friday, July 8, 2016
by Janell Cannon
Awards: ABBY-American Booksellers Book Of The Year Award for Children (1994), California Young Reader Medal, Keystone to Reading Book Award, Reading Rainbow Feature Book, Southern California Council on Literature for Young People Award.
Stellaluna is a beloved classic and should already be on everyone’s library shelf—if not—check with your school library or get it immediately!!
While many writers list Stellaluna’s genre as a folktale /fairytale/myth, it would be an excellent mentor text to accompany non-fiction/informational reading and writing. Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli mention in their book, Non-fiction Mentor Texts, “Sometimes we need a fiction book to serve as a catalyst to write about a topic or to imitate the form, voice or syntax of an author.” (page 4). Stellaluna would fit that bill for you if you choose to use it in that way for writing workshop.
Stellaluna as a narrative fiction would serve as a wonderful example of narrative writing and/or an Animal Fantasy -whether it is used just in the ‘immersion’ phase of Workshop when you read-aloud a group of books chosen in the same genre that you will be reading or writing, or if you use it for a specific example of a particular craft move. Author Janell Cannon weaves into the story factual information about bats (and birds) and in the back of the book she adds some ‘bat notes’ with facts about bats. Stellaluna is an excellent example for older students of that sophisticated writer’s craft move.
Stellaluna is a baby bat who is loved by her mother and who is learning about all the things that bats are suppose to do.
One night when Stellaluna goes out with her mother for food, an owl attacks the mother bat and Stellaluna slips out of her grasp and (luckily) lands far below in a tree.
Stellaluna ends up near a nest of birds. Mother Bird is kind enough to feed Stellaluna (bugs, not fruit) and the three baby birds accept her into the nest, too.
But Stellaluna is a bat and does ‘strange’ things like hang upside down on the side of the nest while she sleeps—-as well as preferring to go out and hunt at night. The Mother Birds, three baby birds and Stellaluna discuss their differences—and Stellaluna finally agrees to act like a bird ( as much as she can).
BUT—one day, when Mother Bird sends them all out to fly on their own, Stellaluna flies and flies and ends up very far away from the Bird family. She tries to hang like a bird, falls asleep and is discovered by a group of bats!
And one of the bats is her own bat mother! Mother Bat spends time re-teaching Stellaluna all things that are bat things to do. Stellaluna flies back to her bird family and invites them to meet her bat family. They fly at night, the birds can’t see, Stellaluna helps them out. They all realize how different they are, but how much they like each other, and the differences really do not matter.
Some favorite lines:
“We’re safe,” said Stellaluna. Then she sighed. “I wish you could see in the dark, too!”
“We wish you could land on your feet,” Flitter replied.
“How can we be so different and feel so much alike?” mused Flitter.
“And how can we feel so different and be so much alike?” wondered Pip.
“I think this is quite a mystery.” Flap chirped.
“I agree,” said Stellaluna. “But we’re friends. And that’s a fact.”
Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Animal Fantasy/Folktale
Reading Workshop: Connecting, Inferring, Questioning, Summarizing
Writing Workshop Genre and Strategies: Narrative Writing / Animal Fantasy, Character Development, Inspiring Writers, Grammar (quotation marks) Search for and Use Information
Curriculum Connections: Acceptance of differences among each other, Science-Bats, Birds characteristics and habits.
Janell Cannon interview: http://ashleynikkieng315.weebly.com/interview-with-author.html