Our Long and Winding Route
by Matthew
January 7, 2022

At long last, I’m excited to share our basic Busload of Books tour route…

…courtesy of tons of hard work from Robbi who painstakingly worked around weekends, holidays, weather, and geography to schedule all 52 schools we’ll be visiting next year.

She entered all the dates and addresses into this cool road trip mapping software to get a general sense of where we’ll be and when. Click here to play around with the map.

I say “general sense” because, other than the schools themselves, our itinerary is not set in stone. The current projected distance is 21,757 miles (not counting the 4,000-mile drive home from Anchorage).

But between now and departure, we’ll be adding many zigs and zags—to visit friends, explore back roads, and discover the off-the-beaten path wonders you’ve been telling us about.

Note that this map excludes Hawaii. We’ll be flying there from Atlanta in February.

In the days ahead, we’ll be adding new stops to this map, asking for your help in brainstorming more places to visit, and telling you more about each of the schools on the tour.

But this is where we are at the moment. I’ve never been so excited about a squiggly line.

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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.

#busloadofbooks
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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.

#busloadofbooks
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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!