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Author Janell Cannon
Illustrator Janell Cannon
Cover artist Janell Cannon
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's story
Publisher Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The Living Books Company
Publication date
April 3, 1993
Media type Print (Paperback)

Stellaluna is a 1993 children's book by Janell Cannon about a female Megabat. The book aired on the PBS series Reading Rainbow in 1994. On that episode, Anne Jackson narrated the story. It is featured in the 2001 movie I Am Sam. In addition, MGM and Scholastic Productions released a 2004 animated version of Stellaluna on DVD.

In 2005, the author received a Bat Conservation Award from the Organization for Bat Conservation.[1] Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[2] It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[3]


In an African forest, a mother fruit bat loves her baby, Stellaluna, very much and would never let anything happen to her. But one night, an owl attacks the bats, knocking Stellaluna out of her mother's safe embrace, and she falls into the forest below. Soon the baby bat ends up in a sparrow's nest filled with three baby birds named Pip, Flitter and Flap. The mother bird will let Stellaluna be part of the family only if she eats bugs, does not hang by her feet and sleeps at night.

When the birds grow, they learn to fly. When Stellaluna and the birds are out playing, it gets dark and the birds go home without her because they will not be able to see in the dark. Stellaluna keeps flying, but when Stellaluna's wings hurt, she stops to rest. When she does, she hangs by her thumbs. Soon another bat comes to ask why Stellaluna is hanging by her thumbs. As she tells the other bats her story, Mother Bat reunites with her and Stellaluna finally understands why she is so different.

Excited about learning how to be a bat, Stellaluna returns to Pip, Flitter, and Flap in order to share her new experiences. They agree to join Stellaluna and the bats at night, but find they are unsuited to flying at night and nearly crash. Stellaluna rescues them and the four of them decide that while they may be very different, they are still friends and family.


Living Books version[edit]

In 1996, the book was adapted into an interactive PC version from Living Books.

Animated version[edit]

In 2004, an animated version of Stellaluna was produced by Scholastic Productions and released on DVD by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starred Chiara Zanni as the voice of Stellaluna. However, this version was panned by some fans of the original book as "truly unfaithful" and received mixed to negative reviews.[citation needed] On February 14, 2012, the movie was re-released on DVD by the New Video Group with added features such as an activity book.

Stage version[edit]

In 2009 the Center for Puppetry Arts performed Stellaluna adapted by the Tears of Joy Theatre from Portland, Oregon.[4]

In 2005 Emerald City Theatre Company performed Stellaluna and Other Tales by Alyn Cardarelli and Steve Goers. This script is offered by Playscripts. [1]

Selected translations[edit]

  • Stellaluna, 1994, German (ISBN 3551515212)
  • Stelaluna, 1994, Spanish (ISBN 8426128491)
  • Stellaluna, 1996, French (ISBN 2227704616)
  • Stellaluna, 1996, Italian (ISBN 8880930443)
  • 星月 / Xing yue, 1999, Chinese (ISBN 9579828172)
  • Serenola, 2000, Welsh (ISBN 1859028659)


  1. ^ "Janell Cannon, Author of "Stellaluna," Receives Award". Organization for Bat Conservation. Archived from the original on April 21, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  2. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  3. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  4. ^ Center for Puppetry Arts. Stellaluna.

External links[edit]