Bixby Alexander Tam is a young boy who likes to go by the nickname Bat. Bat loves animals and knows all kinds of facts about animals. Bat's mom is a veterinarian and Bat would like to be a veterinarian just like her some day. However, Bat is still in grade school and must focus on that. It is hard for Bat to make friends since he doesn't like to look people in the eye and likes to flap his arms. One day, Bat's mom brings home an orphaned baby skunk that she plans on taking care of before giving it to a rescue. Bat is amazed by the baby skunk and helps him mom with it's care. Bat doesn't want to give up the skunk so soon and tries to find a way to convince his mom to keep his new friend; and as Bat learns to love a skunk, he may learn to open up to new human friends as well.
A Boy Called Bat is a fun, engaging and heartwarming middle grade read. Most of all, this book encourages diversity and empathy without the story line being directly about the fact the Bat is on the autism spectrum. In fact, that is not even mentioned within the book, what is mentioned is how Bat perceives the world, how he handles emotions, interacts with other people and his intense love for animals. This is all done in a way that is easy for kids to understand and makes Bat very easy to relate to. I loved that Bat was coupled with a skunk, an animal that most people do not like very much; together, as Bat learns to take care of the infant skunk and convince his mother to keep the skunk for longer, Bat learns skills in how to relate with people. All of the characters in the book were equally as well thought out, though we see most of the people as Bat sees them, everyone surrounding Bat cares for him and wants the best for him. Overall, a great middle grade read, especially for animal lovers.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.