Announcing the Telethon
by Matthew
November 21, 2021

We are pleased to announce the Busload of Books Tour Double Your Dollars 12-Hour Telethon Extravaganza!

Join us the Saturday after Thanksgiving from 9am – 9pm ET for an action-packed lineup of hijinks, capers, pageantry, cooking lessons, and extremely special guests. (We’ll be streaming simultaneously on the Robbi and Matthew Instagram page and Matthew’s Facebook page.)

Force Robbi to eat way too many cheeseballs! Win your very own terrible drawing by Matthew! Watch as Robbi constructs an elaborate costume out of paper bags! Learn to make pulled pork and Jell-O cake with Matthew!

Meet the incredible people who have made the bus tour possible, from Alden’s wonderful first-grade teacher Rachel Hopkins to bus whisperer Brian Thompson to the illustrious Dave Pell of NextDraft fame.

THE REALLY EXCITING NEWS: We’ve received a $10K matching grant from our friends at PurposeLab ( and another $5K matching grant from an anonymous-and-extremely-generous donor. Which means every dollar donated up to $15K counts double! (Starting now!)

If we meet the first ($10K) challenge by 9pm on Saturday Nov 27, Matthew will do a dramatic reading of his long-embargoed college application essay, comprising four pages of rhyming heroic couplets and an un-ironic invocation to Zeus!

If we also meet the second ($5K) challenge, Robbi will let Augie give her any haircut he likes. ANY HAIRCUT! And Augie is rather adventurous.

But, most important, we’ll have raised $30K to buy 6,000 books for students and teachers who otherwise wouldn’t have had them. We can do this, people!

If you’ve been meaning to contribute, now’s your chance to make your donation go twice as far. And if you want to make us really earn it, log in any time from 9am-9pm ET next Saturday (Nov 27) to heckle, chuckle, or cheer!

Please help us claim every last penny of these matching gifts! Please help us put books on the bus!

The matching challenge starts NOW!


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


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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.


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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!