Meet Lauren Castaldo of Cape View Elementary in Cape Canaveral, Florida
by Matthew
April 4, 2022

In early December of 2022, we’ll be visiting the Rockets of Cape View Elementary in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Our host is the wonderful Lauren Castaldo, a media specialist of 16 years, and a dedicated champion of literacy. She took a few minutes to tell us about her students, her community, and the challenges faced by Title I schools.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I get to see ALL the students each week and help foster their love of learning! The media center is where students come to find their passion! I LOVE watching a student get so excited about a book it makes the whole class want to read it.

WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE BETTER UNDERSTOOD ABOUT THE CHALLENGES FACING TITLE I SCHOOLS?
We end up being so much more than just teachers. 100% of our students this year receive free or reduced-cost lunch. We spend our own money to buy clothes, shoes, food, books etc. for students and families who need them, because they are part of our community. We are our students’ cheerleaders because Mom or Dad couldn’t make the soccer game, we are the mental health counselor when they witness violence in the neighborhoods. We bring in the extra snacks for all so no one is singled out. Systemic poverty is a nationwide problem in schools. There are no easy answers or solutions.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES IF YOUR SCHOOL HAD MORE FUNDING?
My answer and my school’s answer may be different, but I would love to bring my school library into this century with new furniture built for collaboration, and make a massive investment into new library-bound books.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BOOK TOUR WILL BRING TO CAPE VIEW?
Books pour into Title 1 schools but they are usually used, old, and nothing the students want to read. If a book sits on a shelf, it’s not much good at growing a child’s brain, confidence, and reading ability. I CAN’T WAIT to give each student a just-right forever book for them. It’s an honor and blessing to be hosting Robbi, Matthew, and their children at our school and welcome them into the ROCKET family!

We can’t wait to meet Lauren and the entire Rocket family! The honor will be all ours.

To learn more about the Busload of Books Tour, go to www.busloadofbooks.com

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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.

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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!