The picture book Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon, is a wonderful book for inspiring discussions about what makes something what it is and about friendship. It tells the story of a young fruit bat who becomes separated from her mother and lands in a nest of baby birds, becoming an adoptive member of the bird family. The baby bat learns to act like a baby bird and struggles to accommodate herself to the family, but she never completely fits in. Eventually she is able to regain her identity as a bat, and she and her bird friends wonder together about friendship and being alike and different at the same time.

The following are some questions that can be used to discuss this story in a classroom or other group setting or just with your own children:

Duck a duck?
Cat a cat?
Human being a human being?
Animal an animal?
Bird a bird?
Smile a smile?
Feeling a feeling?
Thought a thought?

A duck catch mice?
A bat write a letter?
A television eat grass?
A person fly?
A dog purr?
A teddy bear talk?
A person turn into a lion?
A painter plant a garden?
A child drive a car?
A doctor play the piano?
A book talk to you?

What makes a child become an adult?
Is an adult the same person he or she was as a child?
Can an animal ever become a person?

Can you be friends with any of the following?
The moon.
A car.
A stone.
A pair of shoes.
A book.
A movie.
A cat.
A plant.
A house.
A piece of land.
An idea.
A dream.
A painting.
A tree.
A parent.

If someone is a friend, is the following true?
I spend time with him or her a lot.
I talk to him or her a lot.
We share thoughts with each other.
We share feelings with each other.
I like him or her.
I want to be near him or her.
We help each other.
The person thinks that I am his or her friend.