(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.



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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.

The latest on Instagram:

The Daily Minute: 2.21.24
In which, 35 training sessions later, Jasper is ready to pilot the big cart.

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Robbi and I are heading to your fair city on Sunday for a busy week of back-to-back school visits. We’ll be doing many presentations, various lunches, several dinners, and an evening meet-and-greet. (This is where you come in.)
Should you care to meet us or greet us or give us a hug, we’ll be at the Glenside Library in Glendale Heights from 3:30-5:00pm next Tuesday night (Feb 27), meeting and greeting and hopefully seeing you.

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The Daily Minute: 2.20.24
In which Robbi is on strike, Jasper shows no mercy, and Dumbles holds strong opinions we cannot comprehend.

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The Daily Minute: 2.19.24
In which we are scheming and dreaming of fewer hats and no joy.

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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!