Its not uncommon these days for young readers to be aware of challenges facing our planet’s ecosystems and their most vulnerable creatures. Amara and the Bats by #KidLit4Climate campaign founder, Emma Reynolds aims to inspire the next generation of ecological activists while raising awareness for bats and the important role they play in a variety of ecosystems as a “keystone species.”
When bat-enthusiast Amara and her family move to a new neighborhood, she is dismayed to hear bats have not been seen in the local conservation land for a number of years, with allusions to encroaching development as a possible cause. Though the storyline explores this important aspect of humans activity and environmental impact no further, it does introduce readers to a spread of youth activists such as Ridhima Pandey, Jerome Foster II, Tokatawin Iron Eyes, and Greta Thunberg.
Amara also models peaceful models of environmental-activism and courage, presenting to her new classmates about bats and enlisting them to participate in a host of conservation and awareness events from the small (bat bake sale!) to the large (approval and development of a nature reserve / bat sanctuary.)
Equally important is the message that change doesn’t happen overnight. Even with the environmental improvements constructed by the community, Amara and her family must wait uncomfortably for several months before the fruits of their labor are successful and Amara makes her first bat-sighting in the reserve.
Reynolds includes several illustrated bat fact pages at the end of the book, including a guide to bat houses particularly relevant in the coming months. Bats spend early fall furiously preparing for their hibernation period which begins in November and December. Parents, after school programmers, tech-ed specialists, and other environmentally-conscious youth mentors might consider pairing this book with bat house construction and installation in their own localities.
Broadly speaking, bats live across the entire continental United States and can benefit from the support of humans in any environment as they continue to be threatened by white-nose syndrome. Several websites such as this one on the National Wildlife Foundation website provide information on how to build a DIY bat house. Companies like Home Depot also sell modestly priced prefab kits for less time-intensive construction.
Ask for Emma Reynold’s “Amara and the Bats” at your nearest bookstore and inspire the next environmental activist to consider how they can make an impact, big or small, to benefit their local wildlife.