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:

Almost home.


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Good night from Lake Compounce Campground, where the heat is lifted, the moon is up, and the dogs are wanting for us to come to bed, already.

We had a wonderful day with the students and teachers of Highland Elementary. Usually school visits are single-day affairs, but we get to go back to Highland tomorrow for another day of fun.

Sweet dreams, friends.


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The Daily Minute: 5.22.24
In which we hear a story created by the next generation of authors and illustrators at Highland Elementary.


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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!