By Dottie Dewberry For the WPT
MABEN — The Maben Public Library Summer Reading Program kicked off with 44 kids, 14 adults and three adults attending the program Tuesday morning. Pam Awad, a Mississippi State Extension program assistant, presented the program, which featured bats.
She initiated her presentation with a summary of facts about bats: they are nocturnal mammals; they make sounds called echolocations, some are frugivores, meaning they eat fruit, but most of them are insectivores.
She told the 40-plus group of boys and girls more than 1,200 species of bats exist the world over. They are man’s friend as they aid in insect control, flower pollination, and they spread fruit seed.
“Flight has enabled bats to become one of the most widely distributed groups of mammals. Apart from the Arctic, the Antarctic and a few isolated oceanic islands, bats exist all over the world. Bats are found in almost every habitat available on Earth.
“Different species select different habitats during different seasons, ranging from seasides to mountains and even deserts, but bat habitats have two basic requirements: roosts, where they spend the day or hibernate, and places, where they forage. Bat roosts can be found in hollows, crevices, foliage, and even human-made structures, and include “tents” the bats construct by biting leaves (Wikipedia).”
A summer reading program would not be complete if there was not a story; she chose “Stellaluna,” which is about a little brown bat that is accidentally dropped by her mother.
The helpless baby falls smack into a nest of bird fledglings and is immediately accepted as one of the family. Stellaluna tries to fit in, but keeps acting unbirdlike; hanging upside down and wanting to fly at night. By chance Stellaluna is reunited with her mother and finally learns to be proper bat.
After the info summary and the story, Ms. Awad had a variety of activities for the different-aged groups: Going Batty Anagrams, Bat Poem Sheets, Fill in the blank (story related) and Word Search (story related).
The end is always they best as this always means some kind of treat. Ms. Awad told the participants they were going to eat some bat food: mango, kiwi, mandarin oranges and apricots. With toothpicks in hand, the children sampled all they wanted to taste. YUM!
All good things must come to an end: Mary Boutwell, Maben librarian, who had gone over the rules, the sign-ins and other requirements, announced the drawing for prizes — one for each age group. Gracie Burton and Zaria Robinson won a prize for attendance. Cierra Bell and Rylan Mamrak won a prize for reading the most books. All of the children then got to go select a prize out of the big box of prizes before they checked out a stack of books.
Next week, the library will feature Beverly Smith from the Noxubee Refugee. All are invited to come sign up and take part in the program on Tuesday, June 19, at 10 a.m.