Book Review: A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham

This is an uplifting story about a young girl named Stella who encounters an abandoned, run-down bus called “Heaven” parked outside her home. This rather unattractive but alluring change creates a stir in the usual monotone flow of everyday life in her neighborhood. People stop, look and chat. With this begins the chain of events that transforms the bus from being derelict and unwanted to buzzing with life and being a community hub.

Then one day, amidst the laughter, music and dancing arrives a tow truck that hurls the bus and drags it to the bone-yard. The neighborhood is devastated. Will little Stella, ‘the color of moonlight’, manage to find the glow within and save the day?

Bob Graham has once again created a prodigious masterpiece. This story symbolises the true essence of communal life. It inspires within us a visionary attitude of seeing potential in a battered soul, to metamorphose it into one that gives endlessly and emerges as an invaluable asset to empower society. With simple text that flows effortlessly to intertwine with the beautiful message that it imparts, this book leaves a lot to read in between lines which makes it perfect for children both young and old.

The elaborate illustrations are like fairy dust and bring the story to life. The depiction of diversity in community from various religions, races, ages and occupations and the gradual bursts of vibrancy in the artwork compliment the transformative message of the story.

This story has helped us realize that irrespective of how small or frivolous we might feel at times, there is something unique buried deep inside every one of us which has the potential to create massive reforms.

The message we take away from this book is that every individual should be defined by their strengths and not their weaknesses. Encouragement, support and togetherness are key to forming a genuine community, one in which people of all colors, races, and ethnicities reside in peace and harmony and pull together in times of need. A small action can generate a myriad of change that can be used to draw strength upon for generations to come.

Book Details:

Author and Illustrator: Bob Graham

ISBN: 978-1-4063-3419-7

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Walker Books, October 2011

RRP: $27.95 (aud)

Suitable for ages: 3+

Awards:

CBCA Picture Book of the Year 2012- Shortlisted

Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year for Young Children 2012- Shortlisted

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