Monday, 29 January 2018

Bat and bird norms

This morning before dawn I woke up to hear our nocturnal robin singing quite energetically. I guess it’s not perversity that makes him or her tweet away in the night. I’ve always assumed it was the result of his/her territory being over the road from one of those orange sodium street lights. However I believe that this habit predates cars and electric lights. He's not abnormal. He may not, after all, have been corrupted by our modern culture.

It put me in mind of a story I’ve just come across in a blog article, Turning a Unicorn into a Bat: the post in which we announce the end of our marriage. It's a long and moving article about a gay husband and straight wife divorcing after a long and happy marriage held together by their shared faith. Lolly, wife to Josh, summarises the story like this. “Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. It’s a charming story with beautiful illustrations.
“Stellaluna was a tiny baby fruit bat. One day, Stellaluna’s mother was out flying with Stellaluna, when suddenly an owl attacked them. The owl knocked Stellaluna out of her mother’s grasp, but luckily she ended up safely in a bird’s nest. Stellaluna was allowed to stay in the bird’s nest as long as she acted like a bird. She ended up giving up all of her bat ways—she slept at night, ate bugs, and never hung upside down because Mama Bird told her that those things were wrong. Stellaluna tried very hard to be a good bird, even when it was very difficult.

“One night, Stellaluna ended up finding her bat family who convinced her that her bat ways were not wrong for her—that they were part of who she was. Maybe they were wrong for a bird, but not for a bat. They fed her delicious mango and taught her to fly at night and she realized she never had to eat bugs again. When she finally accepted her identity as a bat, she found happiness she never knew.”

If you want to hear the whole story being read, you can hear it here: Stellaluna read. Full life must include being the way you were made, mustn't it? When we dictate that someone should be like us, we run the danger of killing the real them.


  1. My four year old niece was literally on the edge of her seat listening to this story the first time. She loved the pictures, as did her little two year old brother. Such a lovely story and we liked that it has facts about bats in the back and a nice story that teaches children about the animals, as well as the theme that even when others look very different they can still have things in common.

    1. Reading stories to children is so important - and such fun! I don't think they ever forget the experience. I'm so pleased I'm not alone! Thank you.