She picks on him and calls him names. She steals his lunch. She eats the cupcake he decorated for his teacher, Mrs Wilson. Every time he thinks about DJ or catching the bus, Leroy feels sick. His sister Ruby wants him to tell their parents, but he just can't.
Then DJ takes the glowing star stickers that he got to choose from the class treasure box for being student of the week. When his parents ask to see his reward, the truth finally comes tumbling out … and, from that moment, DJ starts to lose her power.
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. The result is a book that should be read by every kid in every school. So many children have their lives ruined by bullying and so many of them are too scared to speak up and seek help — just like Leroy. But as Leroy discovers, bullies can be stopped when you have the right people helping you.
I liked the fact that Bully on the Bus takes care not to demonise DJ — bullies need our help too, not just their victims — and, for me, the ending was particularly satisfying as a result. This is an important book as well as a brilliantly creative one. Highly recommended.
Title: Bully on the Bus
Author: Kathryn Apel
Publisher: UQP, $14.95 RRP
Publication Date: July 2014
For ages: 6+
Type: Junior Fiction