Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story

The Underground Movement - National Spelogical Society

Bat Count is a delightful tale that actually tells two important, but interrelated stories. On the one hand, this may actually be the first book about white-nose syndrome. As such, it affords young readers (ages 4 - 9/grades K-3) an opportunity to learn about this illness and its effects on bat populations and bat conservation. Since its discovery, white-nose syndrome has been responsible for killing an estimated 6 - 7 million bats in the Northeast.

On the other hand, Bat Count also introduces readers to the concept of citizen science. Citizen-science projects are those in which members of the public participate in scientific research. In the biological sciences, it often involves field work―sometimes no farther than one’s own backyard―with observations being reported to principal investigators. Opportunities for citizen science abound, and there is, almost assuredly, something available to pique most anyone’s interest. People of all ages and all walks of life can get involved and make meaningful contributions; however; the involvement of youngsters in such programs serves as a portal for opening young minds to a world of opportunities and possibilities.

This is a nice book for the budding biologist, naturalist, or conservationist in the family. It offers endless avenues for discussion among parents/teachers and children.

Science Books & Films - November 2017

This book tells the story of a young girl, Jojo, and her family as they undertake a bat count that will aid scientists in their conservation efforts. Interesting background information about bats and bat counts is revealed through conversations between Jojo and her mother. The reader follows the family as they do a bat count near their barn. The end of the book includes a section entitled, "For Creative Minds." (28-31) This section gives useful information on bat facts, bat bodies, white-nose syndrome, and citizen science... This is an excellent addition to the vast array of science trade books written for children. --Jacqueline V. Mallinson, Retired, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Literacy Worldwide - March 2017

JoJo’s family share an interest in helping an endangered species survive by counting the bats that fly from their barn at dusk. After JoJo’s mother becomes worried about the species whose numbers are dropping due to white-nose syndrome, she enlists her family in counting them and sharing the data with scientists. From a high of thirty-nine one summer to a low of one in the last year, the numbers have dwindled. As JoJo’s family keep an eye on the sky, they spot three bats, a mother and two offspring. JoJo becomes hopeful that more bats will be born in future years, and perhaps the species will rebound. Back matter includes information about white-nose syndrome, a fungal infection which is killing bats, and an illustration of a diseased bat; bat facts; and background on how citizen scientists can become involved in helping researchers as they work to save bats. JoJo’s family is just one of many families who share an interest in solving environmental problems.

Giverny Award - April 2018

The Giverny committee thinks that through this book, young readers (ages 4-10) will see themselves and their families as potential contributors to science. The encouraging conclusion offers hope that bat populations can rebound from the devastating white-nose syndrome disease. We challenge you to use Bat Count to involve your students and families in citizen science opportunities for bats—and beyond!

Picture Books Help Kids Soar - November 2016

This is a beautiful family story on two levels…the little girl's family who track and count the bats…and the bat family that they hope will be there.

Librarian Reviews

Very nice tale about a little girl and her family counting bats for science on their farm. Illustrations are nice and the book has info on bats and their conservation.

Informative Read for Young Readers.

Conny Withay - February 2017

I liked that it told how bats usually birth one pup at a time, can succumb to a deadly illness, and yearly counted. The ending has a plethora of facts regarding mega- and micro-bats, echolocation, body parts such as thumbs and tails, how white nose syndrome is spread, protecting them, and resources for counting.

Jbrary - February 2017

I would like to stand by my original claim that cute kids and dogs on cover is THE TREND of 2017.

Archimedes Notebook - May 2017

What I like about the books - They portray kids and their families engaged in citizen science: collecting data that will help researchers understand more about crabs and bats. Both books contain back matter that adds to the understanding of both the animals, and the research being done.

Kids Book Buzz - May 2017

I really liked Bat Count: a Citizen Science Story because it talks about bats, which are an animal that I am interested in because I like exploring caves. When I visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, they talked about white-nose syndrome, and, when coming out of the cave, we had to walk through some sponges so we wouldn’t pass white-nose syndrome to other caves. I think that it would be really neat to be able to count a bat population like Jojo was able to do in her barn. There are pages in the back of the book that teach more about bats, white-nose syndrome, and what it means to be a citizen scientist. I would recommend this book to other kids who like to learn about animals.
-Jewel, Age 9

How Useful it is - April 2017

I like how the story touches family. Jojo’s mom ensures that the mother bat is still happy if she only have one baby bat to confirm that her mom loves Jojo as much as her twin brothers. This book has a good focus on family as well as attention to animals and I highly recommend everyone to read it.

Polilla Writes - June 2017

Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story by Anna Forrester is an excellent way to introduce young readers to nature’s crisis of the plight of bats. In the back of the book is a section For Creative Minds with Bat Facts, Bat Bodies information, White-Nose Syndrome facts and how to help bats, and Citizen Science for readers who want to help with bat counts.

Texas Kitchen and Garden and More - November 2017

A delightful tale of a family that helps out the scientific community from their own rural farm. In , Anna Forrester’s, “Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story”, readers will learn about bats, scientific research, responsibility towards family, and even a bit of natural gardening. Lovely illustrations by Susan Detwiler bring the story to life. The Creative Mind section at the back of the book enables young learners to find out more about bats. Teaching Activities available online.