Our Partnership with First Book
by Matthew
October 26, 2021

Robbi and I will be the ones driving the bus and visiting the schools, but our tour would not be possible without the extraordinary people and organizations supporting our adventure.

Let’s start with First Book—a national nonprofit that has devoted the past three decades to providing free and low-cost books and other educational resources to under-resourced students and communities.

Each year, First Book programs and outreach help 5 million low-income children. To date, they have distributed more than 200 million books to students and teachers across the country.

Our friends at First Book are tapping their nationwide network of 500,000 Title I (and Title I-eligible) educators to help us identify schools where our assemblies and book giveaways will make the greatest impact.

A select group of First Book’s members has been invited to apply for a visit. From those applications, Robbi and I will choose (at least) one school in each state, hoping to come up with a list of 50 schools that includes a balance of sizes, demographics, and settings (rural, urban, suburban, etc.).

First Book is also coordinating with our publishers to source and secure the best possible prices for the books we’ll give away (so your donations can buy as many books as possible). They’ll also ship them to the schools we’ll visit.

(Not having to take on these logistics myself makes me so happy I could actually cry and probably will at some point.)

Mostly though, we’re excited to be partnering with First Book because our missions are so aligned—and because their work is such an inspiring proof of concept.

  • 87 percent of First Book members reported that students’ interest in reading increased after receiving books.
  • 79 percent of member teachers and librarians say that resources from First Book help them be the best educator they can be.

That’s the heart of what we aim to do—engage kids, promote reading, and provide a lift to hard-working educators.
We couldn’t have asked for better partners.


And if you’re a Title I educator, it’s easy and FREE to join the First Book network. Visit the First Book Marketplace to sign up and explore exclusive discounts on new books, supplies, educational resources, and other essentials for your students.


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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!