Meet Beckie Nieman of North Pike Elementary in Summit, Mississippi
by Matthew
February 6, 2022

We’d like to introduce you to Beckie Nieman, a teacher and librarian of more than 25 years.

She’ll be hosting us this coming December when the Busload of Books Tour makes a stop at North Pike Elementary in Summit, Mississippi. Beckie was kind enough to share a bit about herself and her school.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Everything! I LOVE my job. The library is the heart of our school!

WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL’S GREATEST CHALLENGE?
I think our greatest challenge is access to the internet via laptops, etc. Recently with Covid another one of our biggest challenges is closing the learning-loss gap and attending to the social and emotional needs many students face.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES IF YOUR SCHOOL HAD MORE FUNDING?
I realize academics/technology are top priorities, but I really wish we had the funding to update our playground. It would benefit all grade levels to have more options at recess.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL MAKES YOU PROUDEST?
Our kids are learning about how Character Counts. Not all schools have this and it really makes a difference! Our students are very kind and caring, and I am proud of the many ways adults and students are encouraged on a daily basis.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SCHOOL TRADITIONS?
All of the reading challenges and days we celebrate reading! Dot Day, AR theme week, Read Across America Week, and The Global Traveling Mural project are a few we do each year!
Coach Pig also sings our Friday song on the announcements! Also, our PTO’s tradition of Teacher Breakfast/Lunch and, of course, the monthly candy cart!

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL?
Our school has very hard-working faculty and staff. Our administration supports us and will try to get anything we need within reason. They have been duct-taped to walls, put on the roof as pirates, had pies thrown at their faces, dressed as our jaguar, and many other fun things to motivate reading. We love our Little Jags!

We’re so excited to meet the students and teachers of North Pike Elementary. Fingers crossed that our trip happens to overlap with the monthly candy cart.

And many thanks to Beckie in advance for offering to let us use her school’s washer and dryer. This a whole new level of commitment to literacy!

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Recently:

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!