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Stellaluna is a fictional female fruit bat in a children's book of the same name by author Janell Cannon, written in 1993. This 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. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children." It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.
A mother fruit bat loves her baby called Stellaluna very much and would never let anything happen to her. When the two are attacked by an owl, the predator knocks Stellaluna out of her mother's safe embrace. Soon the baby bat ends up in a bird'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 all the baby animals 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. She tells the bat the story of what had happened after she and her mother were attacked by the owl. Another bat interrupts the story. That bat is Stellaluna's mother. Stellaluna and her mother are happily reunited 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.
In 1996, the book was adapted into an interactive PC version from Living Books.
In 2004, an animated version of Stellaluna was produced by Scholastic Productions and released on DVD by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. However, this version was panned by some fans of the original book as "truly unfaithful" and received mixed to negative reviews. On February 14, 2012, the movie was re-released on DVD by the New Video Group with added features such as an activity book.