Bully on the Bus

She’s big.
She’s smart.
She’s mean.
She’s the bully on the bus.
She picks on me and I don’t like it.
But I don’t know how to make her stop.

The bully on the bus taunts Leroy, then silences him with threats of worse to come. To distract him, his teacher introduces him to the adventures in The Big Bad Book of Fairytales. Hidden throughout are the clues that Leroy needs to overcome the bullying taunts once and for all.


RRP $14.95

Bully on the Bus is published by UQP.
Download Sample Chapters
Download Teacher Notes
Download Study Guide (Prepared & shared by Yr4 teacher, Glenys Rathjen)
More Great Activities – (NSW Teacher’s Federation)
Bully on the Bus Stuff (shape poetry & wolf mask templates)

REVIEWS   (Click on the links to read the full review.)

Selected for New Zealand Listener’s Top 50 Children’s Books for 2014.
Winner of the 2015 Australian Family Therapists’ Awards for Children’s Literature – Younger Readers/Picture Book Category.

  • New Zealand Listener: “Kathryn Apel’s eloquent blank-verse tale.”
  • NSW Teacher’s Federation  (Includes discussion Qs & activities.)
  • Alphabet Soup (by 10yo Joseph): I forgot it was a verse novel halfway through and I was very worried for Leroy and couldn’t stop reading. I will definitely read it again. I would recommend this book to kids in years 1 to 4 and their teachers — especially the kids because it teaches them about bullying.”
  • SquiggleBooks: “I can’t recommend Bully on the Bus highly enough. As a teacher, a mother and a writer this one gets my tick of approval.”
  • & SquiggleKid: “When I read it I could feel what it’s like to be bullied. I felt like the main character was me… Once I started I had to finish the whole story.”
  •  Herald Sun (Melbourne): “A lovely story and a great way to tackle bullying.”
  • DeeScribewriting Blog  Review and Interview: “There are so many things I love about this book. The language is lyrical and beautiful and this topic is dealt with in a sensitive way that also offers real solutions to bullying that kids will relate to. With hidden treasures for kids, parents and teachers alike, Bully on the Bus gives courage to anyone who might feel small.”
  • Daily Telegraph (Sydney): “‘This beautifully written verse novel ticks a lot of boxes. It is entertaining as well as educational and it captures perfectly the emotions of a bullied child.”
  • Emily Gale on Readings: “Bully on the Bus had me choked up. Apel has a real talent for conveying realistic scenes in very few words.”
  • Lamont Standing Orders: “Ideal for lower to middle primary students who will feel for Leroy’s problem and cheer his positive actions at the end.”
  • Townsville Bulletin (child reviewer Lauren Aitkenson): “A fun story … captivating and impossible to put down.”
  • Kids’ Book Review (Anouska Jones): “Each carefully chosen word in this verse novel has been precisely placed on the page, providing children with a wonderful example of how poetry can evoke emotion. This is an important book as well as a brilliantly creative one. Highly recommended.”
  • Magpies  (Rebecca Kemble): “This is a verse novel, well paced and neatly done. All the characters are believable and authentic.”
  • ABC Radio Central West (Deb Abela): “With poetic turns of phrase on every page, this is a simple book with a powerful message and an upbeat finale that is warm and touching.”
  • Aussie Reviews (Sally Murphy): “A gorgeous new verse novel for younger readers. This is Apels first foray into the verse novel form, but hopefully it won’t be her last. She handles it deftly and with sensitivity.”
  • CBCA Reading Time (Sharon Seymour): “This verse novel is a delight to read.  Its clever construction where the arrangement of the words make it a visual treat, adds to the emotive language. Highly recommended for lower primary aged children and above.”
  • Marlborough District Libraries (NZ): “‘Provides a great launching pad for discussion around this very serious topic.”
  • BabyMac (Guest Post by Megan Daley) – Make your 8 year old fall in love with reading (again).
  • Boomerang Blog (Dimity Powell): “There is plenty to cry over and love. Apel explores both the external extremes and internal conflict Leroy endures until he finally finds the courage to be a ‘bully-tamer’.”
  • A Year of Reading (American review): “It’s hard to know what to do when a bully is making your life miserable. Kathryn Apel captures the emotional upheaval and the unwillingness to tell trusted adults perfectly in her verse novel for younger readers.”
  • Goodreads (assorted reviewers): “I’m still thinking about Bully on the Bus by Kathryn Apel… This is the perfect topic for a verse novel – the format sits well with the thought processes of primary school student Leroy. An excellent example of how to teach children to deal with bullies… Love love love this book!! Read it, then give it to your kids. Absolutely loved this book! Kathryn chooses exactly the right words to describe feelings and situations and her writing is inspirational!”

UQP Media Release

UQP Media Release.                                      CLICK to see fullsize image.


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