Introducing the Bus Whisperer
by Matthew
October 25, 2021

This is our dear friend Brian Thompson.

He’s an incredible guy and an excellent carpenter. He makes his own yogurt and kimchee. He’s also the person overseeing our bus conversion.

When Robbi and I first started thinking about our tour, we figured we’d buy some sort of RV to live in for the year. We looked at various models but were uninspired by the options and daunted by the prices. (Why exactly do so many RVs have those swoopy beige shapes on the side?)

Brian suggested we check a big RV show in Hershey, PA, which featured acre upon acre of every shape, size and configuration of movable dwelling. There were some very cool options. But as we stood there admitting to ourselves that nothing felt quite right, Brian suggested maybe we should just buy a decommissioned school bus, which he could transform into a rolling tiny home.

Once that seed was planted, we never looked back. What better vehicle to serve as our mobile literacy headquarters as we bring books to schools across the country?

Robbi immediately dove into online research—figuring out how to acquire a bus and what features to look for. A few days later, she found one that seemed to check all the boxes.

Brian and I drove down to North Carolina one afternoon in 2019. Just to have a look. We thought of it as “research” and had no intention of actually making a purchase.

Instead, we ended up driving it home that day, with hopes of starting renovations a few weeks later. And then the pandemic hit, and it’s been sitting in a friend’s field for the past 18 months.

But now, with our September 2022 departure in mind, Brian has gotten to work. I’ll post on his progress soon. For now, I just wanted you to meet him.

We’ve had a blast brainstorming possibilities and wrapping our minds around how to eke the most functionality and comfort out of the extremely tiny footprint.

We can’t thank Brian enough for his perfect idea and his excellent work. He may not be coming on the tour, but he’ll be with us every mile we travel.

To learn more or sponsor a book for a kid:

To consult with Brian about your own dream project, check out Red Door Remodeling.


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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: 4.14.24
In which we wish you a belated Free Nacho Cheese Day and introduce you to a nascent forest.

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The Daily Minute: 4.13.14
In which we are Welcomed Home to Annapolis and are tempted by colorful spatulas.

39 2

The Daily Minute: 4.12.24
In which the thriving Metropolis of Middletown, Delaware has Taylor buckets to spare.

26 3

The Daily Minute: 4.11.24
In which the turtles of Lawrence Wetlands Preserve may or may not be anamatronic.

15 1

Whoever you are, take your seat on the bus!

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