Meet Lisa Marks of Ludlow Elementary in Ludlow, Vermont
by Matthew
March 4, 2022

Meet Lisa Marks.

She’s a fourth grade teacher of 22 years and our host at Ludlow Elementary School in Ludlow, Vermont—one of the first stops on the Busload of Books Tour. Lisa was kind enough to tell us a bit more about herself and the Ludlow community.

WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?
Absolutely the kids! There’s nothing better than watching children be excited to learn. Every single day is different and another chance to have an impact on a child’s life. Kids are sponges when it comes to learning about the world around them.

WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE BETTER UNDERSTOOD ABOUT THE CHALLENGES FACING TITLE I SCHOOLS?
Budget cuts—along with the fact that students today require a lot more than even 15 years ago. They are growing up with a number of outside pressures that affect their mental wellbeing. Students need more support than ever before.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES IF YOUR SCHOOL HAD MORE FUNDING?
Field trips and guest speakers paid for by the school, updated classroom libraries, trauma training and having tools for students with trauma to use, more counseling available to help students cope with our ever changing world.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL MAKES YOU PROUDEST?
Our kids…the way they respect and care for one another even when they don’t always agree.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL?
We have a community of learners at all levels. It really is a family of almost 100!!!

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE TOUR WILL BRING TO LUDLOW?
We have an outdoor forest classroom for grades K-1. Students begin their school lives immersed in it, so the book Everywhere Wonder will be a great point of discussion for them. And having the opportunity to meet an author and illustrator who have had experiences in Alaska and other places, and also have four kids, will give our students the opportunity to realize that authors are people that have families and lives just like all of us.

We can’t wait to meet Lisa and the rest of the Ludlow community. Although our visit is still six months away, they have already shown us such kindness and generosity: Lisa even invited us to park the bus at her house and share a meal with her family the night before we visit!

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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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