Welcome, Elana, and thank you for stopping by LibLaura5 to answer my 5 questions!1. I love BAT because he reminds me of many students I have known through my teaching career. How did his character come to you?I had dropped my daughter off at rehearsal and was driving to a coffee shop to do some work while I waited for her. It was night, and I was in the turn lane waiting for my light to turn green. And then, a name came to me: Bixby Alexander Tam. In an instant, even before the light turned, I realized that the initials of his name formed a word—BAT—and that this name was perfect for him because I knew that he loved animals, that he had bat-like qualities, and that I loved him.2. Skunks are …adorable, and fluffy, and also nearsighted and bumblingly slow.3. What is the most unusual animal you have had for a pet?We had the great pleasure of being the caretakers of Vegas, Ferret of the World, so called because he was the best ferret to ever, ever live. For ten years, he leapt after yelping children, nipping at their ankles; he wrestled with Sherman, our cockapoo; he slept in my sweater drawer; he stole and hid rubber duckies. He was deaf and rather stinky, yes, and he never did quite work out the intricacies of the litterbox, but he was an Arnold through and through.
4. I was thrilled to discover that A Boy Called BAT is the first in a series. Is there anything you can share about what will be coming in the future?Yes! I’m excited to share that the second book in the series, BAT AND THE WAITING GAME is available. Here are a few words about it:
For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life is pretty great. He’s the caretaker of the best baby skunk in the world—even Janie, his older sister, is warming up to Thor. When Janie gets a part in the school play and can’t watch Bat after school, it means some pretty big changes. Someone else has to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons, Janie is having sleepovers with her new friends, and Bat wants everything to go back to normal. He just has to make it to the night of Janie’s performance... Elana K. Arnold returns with another story of friendship starring an unforgettable boy called Bat.5. Sharing the books we love is one way we share about ourselves and connect with each other. What is one book you loved as a child?When I was a young reader, I adored Beverly Cleary’s RAMONA books. I couldn’t have clearly explained then why the books were important to me, but now I can see it’s because Cleary allowed the things that are a big deal to young people to feel like a big deal; she didn’t try to talk Ramona (or her readers) out of feeling big, messy feelings. Ramona feels angry and upset and affronted about things that some adults would say weren’t big deals, that the kid should have more perspective or just “get over it.” But Cleary allowed her young heroine to stew in those feelings and work through them on her own terms, something I aim to do with Bat.
Available at MTV's Library Media Center
All the teachers and staff at Mountview Road School hope you are enjoying reading A Boy Called BAT.
Follow along in your book with our video readers, or simply listen to each chapter, then try answering the questions below. (click on the chapter link/s to open the video/audio file).
Each chapter has something momentous happening; what are those events? How has our friend BAT changed over the course of the story? How do you know if BAT has changed?
Have you ever heard the expression “the eyes are a window to the soul”? What do you think this expression means? Israel is still trying to interact with BAT; what do you think will happen?
Why does BAT approve of his Dad’s garage? Do you use any organizational systems? Most of us have people all around us. How do we know if someone is a friend? In chapter 22, what is different about how Bat and Janey interact?
Have you ever wondered what kind of gift to give a person? What do you think of the surprise Bat gives in Chapter 19? If you had been able to help Bat with the surprise what would you have suggested?
In Chapter 20, BAT has a challenging problem. Have you ever had a time when it was hard for you to concentrate in school because your focus was on something else?
If you have a pet, you may have visited a veterinarian’s office at some time. Why is BAT so much more relaxed and tolerant at the vet than anywhere else?
In Chapter 18, BAT does not understand the effect his words have on Janie. If you were with him, what would you say to Bat to help him understand? Is there anything you would say to Janie?
Who do you admire that you have not met yet but would like to? What would you talk to them about? Bat has conversations with Israel and Mr. Grayson but is confused afterwards. What is BAT missing in these two encounters? If you were there with him, what would you tell him or explain to him?
Tonight in A Boy Called BAT, chapter 13, Bat is trying his best to get his way, but his mom is the boss and gets to make the decisions. What strategies did Bat use to try to get his way? What strategies do you use at home to try to get what you want?
After reading Chapter 14, describe the relationship that Bat has with his sister, Janie and how he feels about her. How does she feel about Bat? What clues from the book led you to draw these conclusions?
Tonight, try to find out why Bat predicts it’s going to be a long weekend. Why is he so unenthusiastic? At the end of chapter 12, BAT thinks of something nice about his sister; why doesn’t he tell her?
Chapter 11 & 12, read by Mrs. Brennan and Mrs. Huettenmoser
Think about how BAT deals with doing things he doesn’t really want to do. How do you deal with those times? What do you know about Bat that could explain why he visits Baby Cakes more than anyone else in his class? Some more to think about: Do you ever have difficulties when working with a group? How do you work past them? Can you offer Bat and his group some advice?
Today’s thinking points for A Boy Called BAT ask, why did the author, Ms. Arnold, write an entire chapter without letting us know what kind of animal Bat’s mom brought home? How does it make the book more exciting?
Also, why does Lucca get upset during the sandwich conversation? Also, why does BAT focus on Mr. Grayson’s sneakers instead of answering his question?
After reading chapters 1, 2, and 3, in A Boy Called BAT, who do you think is right? Bat, when he says, “You don’t have to say please to get someone to do their job", or Janie, when she replies, ”You do if you want them to do it well.” What’s your opinion about this and why?
As a hint for today’s reading, think about how you deal with feeling impatient.
Chapters 1 ("After School"), Chapter 2, ("Bat's Cave"), Chapter 3 ("No Vanilla Yogurt") Introduced by Mrs. Camean and Mrs. Wagner.
In today’s reading we will be getting to know our main character, BAT. As you read or listen to today’s chapters, think about some character traits that describe BAT. Why is he called BAT, by the way? What would Bat’s perfect day be like? Do you have anything in common with him? Also, imagine (maybe even draw) your own “cave”.