The Day She Decided to Become a Writer
by Matthew
November 23, 2021

Since launching the tour, we’ve been getting messages from friends sharing stories of the impact author visits had on their own development as readers or creators.

I especially like this story from our friend Danielle:

“When I was six years old, the author of a popular book series came to visit my school. I had always loved books, but it was the first time I understood that PEOPLE wrote books. They didn’t just appear! This was so magical I’ve never forgotten the exact moment this dawned on me while listening to Suzy Kline’s talk, and I still have my signed copy of Horrible Harry and the Green Slime. It was the day I decided to become a writer, because it was the day I realized that it was even a possibility. These visits make a difference.”

Whenever Robbi and I go into a school—in addition to creating a fun and exciting few hours for the students and teachers—our ultimate hope is to plant seeds that might lead to reading, writing, drawing, creative thinking, self-empowerment, collaboration, or all of the above.

Do you have memories of author visits from your own elementary school days? Or other assemblies that stick with you all these years later? If so, please share!

Looking back, I can’t remember a single one. I’m not sure whether that’s a function of my school not having the funding to bring anyone in or because my memory is generally terrible. Or maybe all of the above.



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: 6.18.24
In which Robbi takes an early-morning drive along the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet.

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The Daily Minute: 6.18.24
In which Robbi reports from a rainforest near Anchorage.

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And they’re off!
Robbi and the kids (the dogs) left home early afternoon yesterday. They flew to Seattle last night and caught an overnight flight to Anchorage, where they landed just after midnight Alaska time. To kill time during their 12-hour layover, they’re going to rent a car and drive down the Turnagain Arm to Portage. It’s a gorgeous stretch of road along the water.
Later today, they’ll catch a flight to King Salmon, a small tundra town which is the jumping-off point for many sport fishing adventures—and the place where the fishermen in our district catch the bush planes that take them to their various fishing camps.  
The whole trip will take about 36 hours, at which point Robbi and the kids will land on the beach and be greeted by Robbi’s brother in a pickup truck. They’ll drive to our compound, take the plywood off the windows, head to the spring to get water, hook up the solar panel, and then start setting up our fishing lines.
It’s so much work to get started every year, but they’ll be up and running by the time I reach the tundra late next Monday evening. It’s possible I’ll jump off the plane and straight into my waders. Once the fishing starts, it waits for no one.
PS - This illustration is from our picture book Sunrise Summer, which tells the story of Alden’s first season as a member of the fishing crew. It’s a great way to get a glimpse into our lives in Alaska.

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The Daily Minute: 6.17.24
In which we tape up the coolers, and Robbi’s hair proves tundra-ready.

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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!