Announcing the Busload of Books Tour!
by Matthew
October 19, 2021

We (and the kids) are going to spend the 2022-2023 school year on the ultimate road trip—

living in a tiny home school bus, visiting Title I elementary schools in all 50 states, doing presentations on creativity and collaboration, and handing out 25,000 free books to students and teachers who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them.

Why? Because books boost reading, academic performance, and language development. And because books are often scarce for the kids who need them most.

We’ve done a bunch of author visits and book giveaways in underserved communities, and the results are always the same: Kids dive into reading. They start telling their own stories. They gain a heightened sense of possibility.

The local impact has been amazing. Now we’re going to do it at a national level—with the help of our extraordinary partners:

  • The incredible nonprofit First Book will help us identify schools where our visits will make the greatest impact.
  • Our friends at Kent Cultural Alliance are accepting tax-deductible donations of $100 and above on our behalf.
  • We’ll be using the DonorsChoose platform to set up micro-giving campaigns to help teachers in every state buy classroom supplies.
  • We’re partnering with the Washington College Department of Education on a major research project to measure the impact of one-time author visits.

At every step, we’ll be bringing you with us—providing a first-hand glimpse of America’s incredible diversity of cultures, communities, and landscapes via daily photos, sketches, and videos.

Thanks to a handful of extremely generous supporters, we’ve raised funds to cover trip expenses and renovate the bus. But now we need to fill it with books.
Every $5 you contribute puts a book in the hands of a deserving kid. $150 buys books for an entire classroom.

To contribute, head to our GoFundMe page and sponsor a book or two (or more, if you’re able).
Many more stories to come, but for today, we wanted to share our excitement and invite you to be part of our adventure.

Please help us put books on the bus!

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Recently:

The Busload of Books Tour is a year-long project to promote literacy and raise awareness of the challenges facing our nation’s public schools.

Author/illustrator duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr (that’s us) and our four kids will spend the 2022-2023 school year traveling the country in a school bus/tiny home, visiting Title I schools in all 50 states (plus DC), and giving away 25,000 hardcover books to students and teachers from underserved communities.

As we travel, we will be blogging, vlogging and posting frequently to social media. All of our content will be appropriate for bringing families and students along on our ultimate road trip.

The latest on Instagram:

The Daily Minute: 12.9.22
In which, having just arrived in Texas, we plan to spend the night in Jasper County.

#busloadofbooks
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Robbi got this text from Erica Bridwell (known to friends and colleagues as “B”), the first-grade teacher who hosted Jasper during Tuesday’s visit to North Pike Elementary School in Summit, Mississippi. We signed a copy of Everywhere, Wonder for B, and Robbi had written in the dedication to “keep fighting the good fight.”
 
It’s a difficult time to be a teacher, especially at a school with limited resources and especially when serving kids who bring additional challenges to school. Educators need a boost every bit as much as their students do.
 
We’re sharing this to show that the tour is also for them, and maybe even more so. 
 
“We miss y’all! It felt like a part of us left when y’all did. Y’all have NO IDEA the impact you’re making not only on kids, but adults too! I haven’t had the easiest school year so far. I have felt defeated, frustrated, and overwhelmed. My connection with my students has felt faint and really nonexistent… I’ve struggled to find ways to motivate them, encourage them more… then y’all come along and somehow it has put fire back into me. Your words have made me reflect since I read them… “keep fighting the good fight…” it was powerful. I had that “full moon feeling” that feeling of how much I love what I do. I thought of what it means to me and what those kids mean to me. I remembered why God chose me to do this. Your kind words lifted me up. So thank you. Thank y’all. What y’all are doing is amazing! Safe travels! I’ll be following!”
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The Daily Minute: 12.8.22
In which we bask in the sweet Louisiana night and brace ourselves for the enormity of Texas.

#busloadofbooks
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Whoever you are, take your seat on the bus!

Our adventure is your adventure. Our country is your country, too. Follow along with us!