In Which We Spend the Whole Day Painting With Friends, Old and New
by Matthew
May 7, 2022

Yesterday might have been my favorite day yet in the Busload of Books Tour project so far.

We spent the morning at Garnet Elementary, working on the bus mural with students and teachers.

Every single fourth and fifth grader got a chance to choose a color and find a spot to paint.

But the rain was not our friend, so we focused on the stretch of bus beneath the awning.

The kids did a fabulous job. They were so patient and careful and excited to contribute to the mural.

We came back in the evening, to be part of Garnet’s Community Resource Fair. We’d anticipated standing all alone in the rain. But the skies cleared, and people showed up in droves.

Suddenly, dozens of friends were painting every inch of the bus, the fantastical literary landscape exploding with unexpected color.

In addition to painting, folks peeked inside the bus to see Brian Thompson’s progress on our soon-to-be tiny home.

The Resource Fair was, by all accounts a huge success. The Busload of Books Tour research team from Washington College was on hand, answering questions about the project—along with 25 community organizations.

Kudos to Garnet’s Community School Coordinator Flo Terrill for organizing an excellent event.

Robbi and I had such a great time, and felt so proud to be part of this incredible community.

Thanks for everyone who came out to help us paint the bus.

Wherever we go next year, it means the world to know we’re building on a foundation made right here at home.


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Your email address will not be published.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: 9.30.23
In which Robbi has loved her best life and we are one child shy of liberation.

15 0

The Daily Minute: 9.29.23
In which the bus is heading to Cox Diesel Repair and Fabrication for a tuneup.


39 1

According to Goji, it’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day. He’s trying so hard, but his stories are dull, with tedious descriptions of sniffing and snorting, endless dull stretches of napping, and inevitably concluding with the protagonist consuming large bowls of tasteless brown nuggets with reckless disregard for common politeness or personal well-being. Also, he’s terrible at typing. ...

61 3

The Daily Minute: 9.18.23
In which Robbi is sized up by her secret admirer.

25 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!