In Which the Busload of Books Tour Begins
by Matthew
August 30, 2022

After twelve years of dreaming and three years of planning and and more than a thousand generous contributors chipping in to make it possible, we’re hitting the road today with 25,000 books to give away and 25,000 miles to drive. (There’s a symmetry to it.)

We’ve purchased a bus and made it a home. We’ve built partnerships that deepen our impact and widen our reach. We’ve packed as well as we can, but what do we know about the road ahead? Not much. We’re mostly unprepared, and we know it.

But momentum is a powerful force. We’ve made a plan and aim to see it through.

Over the next twelve months we will:

  • Give presentations on creative empowerment at high-need elementary schools in every state
  • Distribute 150,000 books to students and educators from low-income communities (in partnership with First Book and Build-A-Bear Foundation)
  • Facilitate the first-ever, large-scale study on the impact of author visits (in partnership with Washington College)s
  • Offer video-based versions of our Tour presentations to any Title I educator
  • Bring friends and followers along on the ultimate virtual road trip
  • Ask the same three questions wherever we go (and share the answers with you)
  • Attempt to make a book(s) about our travels and discoveries
  • Camp in driveways, campgrounds, parking lots, and public land
  • Homeschool our kids (14,12,10, and 5)
  • Encounter an unfathomable number of bathrooms

This is what we plan to do, but what will actually happen? What will go spectacularly wrong? What will go unexpectedly right? What new friends will be meet? What lessons will we learn? What blind spots will we discover? Will we make a difference? What would that even look like?

So many questions. We could sit here asking them forever. It’s time to go find answers.

Please join us, friends. A new school year begins. A country awaits.

We’re packed. The tank is full. Whatever we’ve forgotten, we’ll collect along the way.

We’ll never be completely ready, so we might as well begin.

Here we go.



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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!