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A Bus Called Heaven

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  448 ratings  ·  89 reviews
How did it get there? Everyone wonders - but nobody knows. Then, out from the shadows steps Stella. She climbs onto the bus and, in a moment, sees everything that it could become: 'This bus could be ours', she says. And so, the lonely old bus - with the help of some colourful graffiti - becomes a hub of activity!
Hardcover, 42 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Walker Books Australia
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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  448 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Aww.... Implausible as written, but a good fairy tale for all ages... and plausible if you imagine all the left out details. Anyway, it's a Bob Graham, and I always feel my heart growing stronger and warmer when I read his books. The queen should knight him.
David Crumm
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Care about diversity? Drive 'A Bus Called Heaven'!

“OURS!” little Stella cries in A Bus Called Heaven. That’s the defining moment in Bob Graham’s new book and the words stand alone in a big double-page spread, echoing through his urban landscape.

There are thousands of children’s books that celebrate creativity, compassion and fanciful good fun. In fact, as a Baby Boomer who loved reading books to my own kids, I often regret that we didn’t have more of these colorful picture books back when I was
Valerie Barnhart
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was inspiring that a young girl could have such an impact on the whole community. The bus becomes a place for people of the community to express their artistic abilities and positive interactions. This community needed this place. When the tow truck takes it away, the community comes together to get it back.

Several professional reviews are found:

One of things that surprised me was connection of the little girl's name as Stella, me
Amy Layton
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
I don't think there's an author-illustrator who can best Bob Graham at creating community narratives...I really, truly don't.  He does such an incredible job of illustrating folks from all walks of life and bringing them together.  After a girl named Stella suggests turning the bus into a place where everyone can hang out, each and every person adds something special.  This book honestly warms my heart, and I'm so glad I read it.  It's definitely worth reading as a child, to a child, and as an a ...more
According to the May/June 2012 edition of The Horn Book Magazine (pg 66), Bob Graham actually saw a an old bus labeled "Heaven" on the street. He turned the sighting into a lovely and heartwarming community story.

I probably wouldn't use it in a program, but I certainly will display it often in the hopes that patrons will enjoy the humor and delight in what this diverse group of characters create together.
Danica Midlil
This reminded me of the feel of Stone Soup Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth. I love how Bob Graham always includes so many different kinds of people in his illustrations.
Graham's books are always populated by a charming cross-section of urbanites. In this book they band together to rescue an old bus and make a refuge for the community -- babies to seniors. There are a number of gaps in logic as the story progresses, but the charm of the effort is pleasing.
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
A Bob Graham picture book is always something to look forward to.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
When an abandoned bus with a hand painted sign that simply says Heaven on it is discovered in front of Stella's house, the whole neighborhood is abuzz with curiosity, including Stella. Loaded with trash and in desperate need of a good wash, Stella sees nothing but possibility. Soon, the bus is transformed to a little bit of heaven as everyone pitches in and fixes it up. And what a wonderful community center for these very diverse neighbors to gather in and spend time getting to know each other. ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This bus called 'Heaven' is restored by neighbors and becomes something like a resort for the neighbors; they have fun there, young and old and enjoy this togetherness. However, as a small part of it sticks out into the pavement, there is somebody coming from Boneyard to crush the bus! However, Stella, how appears to play the role of an angel in this picturebook is able to convince the man in charge to let the bus go as there are birds living in the engine. So this is fixed and they find a good ...more
Mackenzie Hoolihan
This book is about how a little girl, Stella, wants an abandoned bus to be “ours”. She wants the bus to be a community bus, so the community helps her fix it up. The bus is not like a regular bus, it is a place where community members get together to hang out. They fill the bus with chairs, tables, books, toys, etc. I like this book because it shows a community coming together to make something great. I think this book is cute and funny, and I love Stella’s determined personality.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When a surprise arrives on a street everyone is curious, which is unusual for this neighborhood. Why is a bus here? What will happen to it? Whose is it? What if we used it for.................

This book shows how a neighbor can come together and work on something as a team to change they way they view the world. Great problem solving skills.
Emerson and Theodore
Theodore and I read in morning. Very good.
This lovely story is about a neighbourhood coming together to make a derelict bus a space for everyone. The action is child-led and won CBCA Picture Book of the Year 2012.
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
What a sweet story! There's lots to look at in the illustrations. I particularly like that the rabbi, the priest, and the imam (?) are always standing right next to each other, looking pensive.
Maren Prestegaard
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first Bob Graham picture book. I think I want to read more.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love reading this book because it has a bus in it!
Black Carrie
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was ok
Judy Desetti
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
A neighborhood comes together when an abandoned bus is left in their neighborhood.
Vincent Desjardins
Stella lives in the city. When an abandoned bus with a sign taped to it reading “Heaven” appears one morning in front of Stella’s house, people in the neighborhood seem to change. For once, they stop and talk to one another. Stella, who usually has her thumb in her mouth, changes as well. She sees potential in the old bus and before you know it, she has inspired her community to clean it up and turn it into a neighborhood club house where all are welcome. Everyone brings something to donate to t ...more
Nov 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
Having heard that Bob Graham was like Australia's Robert Munsch, I was really excited to read this CBCA-nominated title. I was really disappointed. It is a needlessly long-winded story about some people who come together over a bus that someone names Heaven for absolutely no reason at all. The only way this story induces any pleasure for me is if I imagine it as an allegory for the mass suicide of an entire city neighbourhood. Not going to be recommending it like that to any parents anytime soon ...more
Michele Knott
I love that the conflict was decided over a game of foosball.
Bob Graham stories always have an interesting plot line that is resolved in ways that are unexpected.
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
Every time I read a new Bob Graham book, I nearly always think it's my new favourite Bob Graham book—but this time it might really be my all-time favourite Bob Graham book. A battered old bus turns up one day, parked on the street outside Stella's house, sporting a cardboard sign proclaiming it "Heaven". And the neighbourhood is transformed from that day on.

I saw Bob Graham at the KOALA (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) 25th anniversary last week, and embarrassed myself by getting teary te
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
It all started when the bus with a sign that said “heaven” was abandoned on Stella’s street. Traffic slowed, people gathered, and Stella took her thumb out of her mouth and suggested that the abandoned bus could be “ours.” So everyone helped move it out of the street and into Stella’s front yard. It stuck out a bit into the sidewalk and took up the entire yard. The next morning when Stella looked out her window, things had changed again. Now there were people sitting on their front wall, childre ...more
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
One day, Stella finds an abandoned bus outside her house with a hand-painted sign taped to it that says 'Heaven'. With the help of her multi-racial community, the bus is pushed into her front yard, cleaned out and refurbished. Even some local vandals are put to good use by painting a bright mural on the side. Before long, the bus is being used as a community centre where people can chat, read or play games. All goes well until a tow truck driver arrives with a council ordinance declaring that th ...more
Aug 25, 2012 rated it liked it
A really detailed little picture book about a little girl who, with the backing of her town, claims a dilapidated bus set for removal for their own. The text and pictures are very small, so this is more of a one-on-one type of book, but it's a sweet story. What's really interesting to me, though, is that through the amount of detail in the illustration, there's a lot of diversity represented in the depictions of the people in the town. There are gay couples/families, Muslim women in hijab, biker ...more
Danielle Tropea dess
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Going solely off of the title of the book, I assumed that the theme and subject matter were going to be entirely different then how they had turned out. I assumed that the prominent theme would deal with death, and I was pleasantly surprised when it didn't take that road.
A little girl named Stella discovers a dilapidated bus that has seemingly appeared out if nowhere in the middle of the night. The bus has a sign on it that reads "Heaven." In this picture book by Bob Graham, readers follow Stel
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Bob Graham, as I'm sure I've mentioned to anyone who has let me speak for even a moment about picture books, is awesome. This story is about a little girl who decides to transform a broken down hippie bus into a fun community center. The whole neighborhood comes together to create a fun, usable space for everyone to enjoy. What's nice about Graham is that he presents urban life honestly, showing the grit and grime of the city, and includes different races and cultures all living together. In the ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
No one else depicts an urban, working-class setting and characters in picture books today as authentically and whimsically as Bob Graham. He is the master, depicting humans in all their honest, real glory. Moms and Dads with tattoos, men with earrings, potbellies hanging out, working mothers with rocking hair, Graham captures them all. Don't let the word "Heaven" fool you - this book is all about community building and belonging. It belongs on the shelves of public schools all over, urban and ru ...more
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really liked the sentiment behind this book - that a community full of diverse people can come together around a common cause and make their world a better place. In Stella's town we see people of many religious faiths, as evidenced by their various religious garb (head scarves, yarmulkes, turbans, priest collars, etc.), and also of every color and age. Young and old, bikers and nuns, alike come together to create a community refuge inside of an abandoned bus dubbed "Heaven." The illustrations ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

An Australian children's author and illustrator. His books include Max, which won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Gold Award, Jethro Byrd, Fairy Child, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal, and "Let's Get A Pup!" Said Kate which won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award