First Second's newest science book takes readers to the night skies

Learn to fly with BATS by Falynn Koch

Bats by Falynn Koch
Bats: Learning to Fly from First Second BooksFalynn Koch

As winter gives way to spring and the days get longer, I often find myself sitting outside during the twilight hours enjoying the warm air. That's when I see them: dark forms noiselessly flying up and down the path behind my apartment. At first glance they could be mistaken for birds, but then you catch their silhouette just right and realize: They're bats.

You may recall this past August, I shared the news about a new series of comic books aimed to teach elementary-aged kids about the world around them. Released in volumes, Science Comics will allow readers to build a collection of educational graphic novels. Their latest volume, out in 2017 is titled Bats: Learning to Fly, and will introduce people of all ages to the adorable, oft misunderstood, mammals of the night skies.

In BATS, we follow a Little Brown Bat whose wing is injured by humans on a nature hike. He is taken to a bat rehabilitation center where he meets many different species of bats. They teach him how they fly, what they eat, and where they like to live.

- First Second Books

Bats is drawn by Falynn Koch, a Philadelphia-area illustrator, storyteller, and former mac and cheese food truck owner. This is her first graphic novel with First Second Books.

Although I always enjoyed seeing them in the wild as kid, I had never done any research on bats or seen them as a topic I wanted to write about. I'm so glad I got this opportunity because bats turned out to be incredibly interesting. So many things make them unique, from the physical traits that give them they ability to fly, to the power of their echolocation. I found out that echolocation is less like one sound going out and one echo coming back, but a continuous sound based way for a bat to see an environment in 3D, in real time, and without light. I started finding out more about bats where any person goes to find information: the library. Discovering Bat Conservation International and learning about the work of its founder Merlin Tuttle, was also incredibly helpful. I also visited natural history museums to see and draw preserved bats from far-away places. I hope the readers find their own enthusiasm for bats when they read the book, and that they want to help bats survive and flourish in the wild.

- Falynn Koch

Bats: Learning to Fly goes on sale next February. You can read more about the Science Comics series here.

Bats by Falynn Koch
The cover to First Second's newly announced Science Comics volume: BATSFalynn Koch

[Edit: I previously referred to bats as flying rodents. While I used the term endearingly, it was a misnomer. Bats have their own order, Chiroptera, and have more in common with primates than rodents. Apologies for the error!]