About our book, Stuffing the Bus

Stuffing the Bus is a 220-page graphic novel for middle grade readers about friendship, neighbourhood cats, and growing up… just a little.

 

When Mila’s best friend Kit gobbled three bananas in a row, she thought rude was just plain rude. But gradually Mila begins to understand that rude can also be hungry. The action escalates when their teacher announces the Stuff-a-Bus Challenge, which requires students to fill a school bus with canned and packaged food for the local food bank. While their classmates eagerly bring donations, Kit carefully examines the growing piles of cans and boxes. A chain of events is set in motion when, as Mila tell us, “Kit had a meltdown because of the ‘best before’ date, and the bag of apples, and the dented can.”

 

Through her quirky Shy Cat comics, Mila easily solves the problem of hunger, but in the real world there are only more and harder questions. The food bank is only open one day a week, the community garden plots are all spoken for, people are protesting in front of City Hall—and Kit is still hungry. But then Kit takes matters into his own hands, and stuffs a different kind of school bus.

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Why we made this book

Several of us were looking for books for our own children or grandchildren that didn’t conclude with the misguided suggestion that hunger can be solved by food banks. We didn’t find the book we were looking for, so we wrote it.

Why we made this website

We are currently working to have the book published. At the same time, we are developing free resources, discussion guides, and other support materials to go with the book. We are also collecting reviews of other books dealing with poverty and food insecurity so children, youth, parents, teachers, and librarians can think about the messages—both positive and negative, intentional and unintentional—they may be giving us.

Who the book is for

The comic is mainly for middle grade readers—kids aged 8 to 13 or so—but we think older children and adults might like to read it too. The resources will be for both children and adults.

We wanted kids, parents, and teachers to be able to talk to each other about why hunger exits in North America, and what we can do about it.