Bully on the bus by Kathryn Apel
University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702253287.
(Age: 6-8+) Highly recommended. Themes: Bullying, Friendships, School life. Seven year old Leroy is physically and verbally bullied on the school bus each day. The bully D J's words spew out of her mouth like volcanic lava, she's a high school student who takes great pleasure in tormenting Leroy. He loves school, reading, playing and being part of Mrs. Wilson's Superkids. His weekends are filled with family activities, but he loathes the trips to and from school, even his older sister Ruby doesn't help him.
This story is powerfully written in present tense and told from Leroy's point of view. The author's use of alliteration, shape poetry, metaphors, figurative language and imagery - my heart is howling like a hyena, add richness and insight to the themes of bullying, courage and empowerment.
The verse novel builds to a crescendo, however the resolution needs more impact. As a class read aloud, students could write alternate endings to help Leroy. Bully on the Bus is written for the newly independent reader from six to eight years and can be enjoyed by older readers. This book is an important new tool for schools to utilise in their anti-bullying lessons.
Kathryn Apel's blog and the UQP website provide additional information and teacher's notes.