(Re)Introducing the Busload of Books Tour Research Team
by Matthew
May 5, 2022

I’ve said it before and will say it again and again:

One of the best things that’s happened since Robbi and I announced our plans for the Busload of Books Tour is partnering with the incredible Sara Clarke-De Reza to dream up a research study that will measure (for the first time at this scale) the impact of author/illustrator visits on elementary student attitudes about reading and creativity.

Sara has assembled a mighty team of colleagues from the departments of Education and Sociology at Washington College: Bridget A. Bunten, Nick Garcia, Michelle Johnson, and Erin Counihan—as well as two student research assistants, the excellent Avery and Riley.

Sara’s team is working with more than half of our Tour Schools to conduct three surveys (one before we visit, a second on the day of our visit, and a third one month later) to see how student (and educator) attitudes about reading, writing, storytelling, and self-image might have shifted as the result of our presentations and book giveaways.

The resulting data will provide an unprecedented glimpse into a question that has proved vexingly difficult to answer. We’re honored and excited to be part of this landmark study.

Sara and her colleagues will be on hand tomorrow/Friday night at the Garnet Elementary Community Resource Fair. Swing by between 5-7pm to paint the bus and then go say hi to these smart folks who are doing their part to make the world better.

Click here to learn more about the Busload of Books Tour research project.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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.


11 1

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!”

43 3

The Daily Minute: 12.8.22
In which we bask in the sweet Louisiana night and brace ourselves for the enormity of Texas.


22 0

Whoever you are, take your seat on the bus!

Our adventure is your adventure. Our country is your country, too. Follow along with us!