Meet Tracey King of Milan Village School in Milan, New Hampshire
by Matthew
February 11, 2022

Meet Tracey King Title I Reading Coordinator and Librarian for grades K-6 at Milan Village School.

Tracey will be our host as the Busload of Books Tour loops through Milan, New Hampshire next September.
Shewas kind enough to take a few minutes to tell us about herself, her students, and her school.

WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?
I love helping my students learn to read, whether the basic skills of letter sounds to the higher-thinking skills of reading comprehension. Most of all, I hope I am instilling a love for reading that will carry over as they grow from little learners into big learners. I want them to associate reading with fun and gain the gift of imagination as they go through life.

WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE BETTER UNDERSTOOD ABOUT THE CHALLENGES FACING TITLE I SCHOOLS?
Some of our students don’t have access to technology resources. Some don’t have the means to purchase good quality books to keep at home. Sometimes, the only nutritious meals they receive are the ones served at school. However, despite this, the teachers and staff who work in Title I schools are some of the most dedicated teaching professionals. We truly care about our students, their well-being, their social-emotional health, their learning journey, and, most of all, we are always hoping that we are doing enough for them.

WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL’S GREATEST CHALLENGE?
We are in a very rural area of New Hampshire. Sometimes, it’s hard to get diverse opportunities for our students and guest speakers (like author visits) because of the area we live in. And funding, of course, is always an ongoing issue.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES IF YOUR SCHOOL HAD MORE FUNDING?
1. Curriculum resources for teachers.
2. Basic supplies for teachers to use for students.
3. Outdoor playground equipment – update what we have.
4. New classroom furniture/flexible seating.
5. Books – updated books for classroom libraries and school library.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SCHOOL TRADITIONS?
We do downhill skiing, cross country skiing, and/or snowshoeing every Friday starting in January for four weeks. It’s an opportunity for our students to try an outdoor activity they might not have been able to. We also have a monthly challenge that often gives back to the community. The winning class receives our stuffed school mascot, Rufus the Bobcat, to live in their classroom for that month. Some of our challenges have included: Treats for Troops and food and canned goods challenges for food pantries.

We’re looking so much forward to our visit with Tracey, her colleagues, and the rest of the Bobcats!

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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:

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!