• Read to Them

Character Spotlight: Dr. Valerie Tam

By Oliver Perry, Read to Them Staff


Hello friends! We hope that you are enjoying Elana K. Arnold’s incredible writing as we begin our third and final week of A Boy Called Bat. We’ve met some incredible characters so far, and today we are looking at the woman who keeps the Tam family running. Let’s all put on our lab coats and give a warm welcome to…


Dr. Valerie Tam, Bat's Mom!

Illustration by Charles Santoso from A Boy Called Bat.

Name: Valerie Tam AKA Dr. Tam DVM AKA Bat’s Mom

Occupation: Valerie Tam works as a veterinarian, which is someone who takes care of injured or sick animals. She is also the mother of Bat and Janie, a job that takes a lot of work!

Clothing: When she’s not at work, Bat’s Mom wears regular clothes. Slip on shoes, dark jeans, a striped shirt. But when she goes to work, she puts on her white coat, and she changes from Mom to Dr. Tam, a veterinarian, which is better than a superhero.

Personality: Dr. Tam is really, really smart! She knows a ton about animals, from hedgehogs, to ducklings, to skunks. In addition to being a morning person, she is also a very kind person. You can tell by seeing how much she cares for animals. The only two things she cares for more than animals are Bat and Janie.

Hobbies: When she’s not taking care of animals or her kids, you can find Dr. Tam up early with a cup of coffee or tea and a good book.

Voices: Dr. Tam is really good at being Janie and Bat’s mom, and sometimes she uses her voice to do it. She is great at calming Bat down, and uses her soothing voice for when he gets really mad, and she uses her firm voice when it’s time for him to listen. Mom even has a warning voice, and she uses that when Bat does something he shouldn’t have.

Notable quotes:

  • “You’re not sick, Bat, you just want to stay with the skunk kit.”

  • “Honey, I’m a veterinarian. Taking care of animals is my job.”

  • “Beautiful Bat, you have become an excellent skunk caretaker!”


Valerie Tam has many jobs, but we think she’s the best at being Janie and Bat’s mom. Her soothing voice could calm any kid down, but beware of her warning voice! Dr. Tam shows us how important mothers can be, how strong and intelligent they are, and how kind they treat others.