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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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!