In Which We Spend a Wonderful Afternoon at Rock Hall Elementary School
by Matthew
June 1, 2022

Last Thursday we spent the afternoon with the students and teachers of Rock Hall Elementary School.

They had used their Title I funding to purchase a hardcover book for each student and teacher. Robbi and I talked observation and storytelling with a group of preK–1st graders and collaboration with the 2nd–5th grade crowd.

After our presentation and Q&A, principal Gillian Spero led the kids outside to see the bus. It was a thrill seeing their eyes light up when they saw the mural.

They rushed from spot to spot, pointing out discoveries, looking for the characters from their new books, and asking questions: “Is that your dog?” and “Are you really going to live in there?” and “Who did that ridiculous drawing?”

Answers: “Yes!,” “Apparently so,” and “Definitely Matthew.”

As is always the case when we go into schools, the kids had fun, asked great questions, and were excited to meet the people who’d written the book they’d been given.

This is our favorite part of what we do. We love to make books, but they’re just stacks of paper until they find themselves in the hands of a kid.

From that moment forward, anything is possible.




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: 6.18.24
In which Robbi takes an early-morning drive along the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet.

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The Daily Minute: 6.18.24
In which Robbi reports from a rainforest near Anchorage.

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And they’re off!
Robbi and the kids (the dogs) left home early afternoon yesterday. They flew to Seattle last night and caught an overnight flight to Anchorage, where they landed just after midnight Alaska time. To kill time during their 12-hour layover, they’re going to rent a car and drive down the Turnagain Arm to Portage. It’s a gorgeous stretch of road along the water.
Later today, they’ll catch a flight to King Salmon, a small tundra town which is the jumping-off point for many sport fishing adventures—and the place where the fishermen in our district catch the bush planes that take them to their various fishing camps.  
The whole trip will take about 36 hours, at which point Robbi and the kids will land on the beach and be greeted by Robbi’s brother in a pickup truck. They’ll drive to our compound, take the plywood off the windows, head to the spring to get water, hook up the solar panel, and then start setting up our fishing lines.
It’s so much work to get started every year, but they’ll be up and running by the time I reach the tundra late next Monday evening. It’s possible I’ll jump off the plane and straight into my waders. Once the fishing starts, it waits for no one.
PS - This illustration is from our picture book Sunrise Summer, which tells the story of Alden’s first season as a member of the fishing crew. It’s a great way to get a glimpse into our lives in Alaska.

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The Daily Minute: 6.17.24
In which we tape up the coolers, and Robbi’s hair proves tundra-ready.

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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!