This spring when I saw that there was a new title (Bully on the Bus) coming out about bullying, I was so excited! Not excited that we needed a book on this topic, but excited that someone decided to tackle it. When I saw the author’s name, I grinned from ear-to-ear. You see, her name is Kathryn Apel. My mom’s name is Kathryn and we also chose to give our daughter this middle name to honor my mom. We are big fans of Kathryns spelled the “right way” as my mom would say.
I started following Kathryn (Kat) on social media and grew fond of her right away! On a whim one day, I decided to reach out to her and ask if she would talk to little old me on my blog! As you may have gathered, she was so kind to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for today’s post!
About Bully on the Bus
Bully on the Bus tells the story of 7-year old Leroy, who kept facing this one mean bully on the bus. This much older girl made it her goal every day to make Leroy’s life miserable. Throughout the book, we can feel the feelings Leroy experiences as he is being bullied. The end is heartwarming and includes practical advice on how to address bullies.
Meet the Author of Bully on the Bus: Kathryn Apel
Tell us a little bit about yourself, Kathryn…
“I was born and bred on a farm in country Queensland, Australia. I’m the middle child, with a brother and sister either side. Somewhere in my early years I was chased by a cow … and have been scared of cows ever since. I’m also scared of horses. And hairy huntsman spiders – but that’s no surprise, because huntsman spiders can be huge and very creepy! I married a grazier and raised two sons without a TV – and am absolutely useless on the property, as I am still scared of cows! (And horses. And spiders!!) My boys read heaps and created heaps and have now both grown to be quite innovative, with an extensive vocabulary. (All is not lost. )”
What made you want to become an author?
“I was raising two boys on an Australian beef cattle property, and the only farming picture books I could find featured dairy cows – in English or American settings/situations. So, I started writing the books my boys would like to see – and it grew from there.”
Why did you write Bully on the Bus?
“My two young sons were traveling on a very small school bus (a mini-van) and there were two older girls on that bus who were quietly eroding their joy. The boys and I had been talking about their situation, but I hadn’t realized how scared they still were until one of them asked to go to a different school. I wanted to write a story that would help other kids who were also having trouble communicating their very real fears to their parents.
Did you face bullies when you were growing up?
“As I wrote Leroy’s story, a mess of memories came swirling back from my childhood experiences with the bullies on my bus. I could remember tone, facial expressions and word for word what they had said – and how I had felt. It made it very easy for me to slide into Leroy’s shoes – but it also highlighted the power of words – and the need to choose kind words.”
What do you wish young kids will learn from Bully on the Bus?
“It’s not so much what I want them to learn, as what I want them to be able to do – and that’s talk with an adult about the bully in their lives, so that they can then put plans in place to take away their power. I have had numerous letters from parents and grandparents, who have found out about the bully in their child’s life through a shared reading of Bully on the Bus.”
If you could take one thing on a desert island with you, what would you take?
“My glasses. I cannot believe how quickly eyesight deteriorates – and how much we rely on the little things!”
What’s your favorite snack?
“My favorite, would be chocolate, but we all know how good that is at changing body shape! Therefore, I eat a lot more carrots (love their sweet crunch) than chocolate!!”
How to Support the Author
If you have a child who is struggling with bullies at daycare, at school, or on the bus, this book would be a great addition to your library. Bully on the Bus won the 2014 Australian Family Therapy’s Award for Children’s Literature – Younger Readers category which speaks to its merit!