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

#busloadofbooks

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

#busloadofbooks
...

13 0
Hello, Friends! Isabel here. We’re rounding out the week in a state I’m pretty familiar with: the Bayou State, the Creole State, the Boot.

You might know it as a swampy place, the site of the country's largest gator population. I know it as a place I grew up: Louisiana! 

The world alligator, by the by, comes from the Spanish el lagarto, or: the lizard. The BIG lizard… they grow up to 12 feet long.

Although the state song is “You Are My Sunshine,” Louisiana's famed for its hurricanes. Not so many people know about the tricks of LA's grittiest survivors: oak trees. Full-grown live oaks can drink up more than 20,000 gallons of stormwater a year!

Floods especially affect New Orleans, which has LA's lowest elevation. 8 feet below sea level! 

That doesn’t stop residents from living the city’s motto: laissez les bons temps rouler. “Let the good times roll!” 

The city spent time under Spanish and French rule before being sold to the US. In 1803, LA’s territory encompassed what is now 13 separate states; the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the US.

If you've only heard of one thing in New Orleans, it’s probably Mardi Gras. Every year, parades roll through the streets. Riders on papier-mâché floats throw beads, and marching bands perform in between. 

This leans on another New Orleans tradition. Jazz! Born when improv, emotion, and brass clashed like cymbals in the hands of extraordinary artists like “Jelly-Roll” Morton and Louis Armstrong.

This wouldn’t have been possible without NOLA's incredible diversity. From the Native Americans who first lived here, to the historical African, Caribbean, and European influences, NOLA's a melting pot.

LA's food wouldn’t be the same without its Haitian Creole and Cajun influences. If you’ve seen The Princess and the Frog, you’ve heard of my personal favorite — gumbo, a delicious stew. And frog legs! Rayne, LA, is the center of the frog industry and even has an annual Frog Festival.

You know, NOLA’s connected to the rest of the state by the Causeway, the world's longest bridge over water. Some say you can even see the curvature of the Earth while driving it. Robbi and Matthew — let us know if you check it out!

Hello, Friends! Isabel here. We’re rounding out the week in a state I’m pretty familiar with: the Bayou State, the Creole State, the Boot.

You might know it as a swampy place, the site of the country's largest gator population. I know it as a place I grew up: Louisiana! 

The world alligator, by the by, comes from the Spanish el lagarto, or: the lizard. The BIG lizard… they grow up to 12 feet long.

Although the state song is “You Are My Sunshine,” Louisiana's famed for its hurricanes. Not so many people know about the tricks of LA's grittiest survivors: oak trees. Full-grown live oaks can drink up more than 20,000 gallons of stormwater a year!

Floods especially affect New Orleans, which has LA's lowest elevation. 8 feet below sea level! 

That doesn’t stop residents from living the city’s motto: laissez les bons temps rouler. “Let the good times roll!” 

The city spent time under Spanish and French rule before being sold to the US. In 1803, LA’s territory encompassed what is now 13 separate states; the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the US.

If you've only heard of one thing in New Orleans, it’s probably Mardi Gras. Every year, parades roll through the streets. Riders on papier-mâché floats throw beads, and marching bands perform in between. 

This leans on another New Orleans tradition. Jazz! Born when improv, emotion, and brass clashed like cymbals in the hands of extraordinary artists like “Jelly-Roll” Morton and Louis Armstrong.

This wouldn’t have been possible without NOLA's incredible diversity. From the Native Americans who first lived here, to the historical African, Caribbean, and European influences, NOLA's a melting pot.

LA's food wouldn’t be the same without its Haitian Creole and Cajun influences. If you’ve seen The Princess and the Frog, you’ve heard of my personal favorite — gumbo, a delicious stew. And frog legs! Rayne, LA, is the center of the frog industry and even has an annual Frog Festival.

You know, NOLA’s connected to the rest of the state by the Causeway, the world's longest bridge over water. Some say you can even see the curvature of the Earth while driving it. Robbi and Matthew — let us know if you check it out!
...

19 0
Dumbles loves his new toy. Thanks Beckie Nieman and all our friends at North Pike Elementary School for including even our ridiculous dog in your generous hospitality. 

#busloadofbooks

Dumbles loves his new toy. Thanks Beckie Nieman and all our friends at North Pike Elementary School for including even our ridiculous dog in your generous hospitality.

#busloadofbooks
...

40 3
The Daily Minute: 12.7.22
In which we submit an enthusiastic review of the French Quarter RV Resort (just a seven-minute walk from Bourbon Street).

#busloadofbooks

The Daily Minute: 12.7.22
In which we submit an enthusiastic review of the French Quarter RV Resort (just a seven-minute walk from Bourbon Street).

#busloadofbooks
...

40 1
The Daily Minute: 12.6.22
In which the wonderful Beckie Nieman paints the great state of Mississippi on the side of our bus. 

#busloadofbooks

The Daily Minute: 12.6.22
In which the wonderful Beckie Nieman paints the great state of Mississippi on the side of our bus.

#busloadofbooks
...

38 2
MI.SS.I.SS.I.PP.I. I’m not sure if that's how you remember how to spell it, but it's how I learned!

"Mississippi" derives from an Ojibwe word meaning “great river.”

About 25% of all fish species in North America can be found in the Mississippi River. It takes 3 months for the water to flow from Lake Itasca down to the Gulf of Mexico, where the river releases more than 4 million gallons of water each second!

Twenty years ago, the first person to swim the entire Mississippi River completed the 2,414-mile task in 68 days!

The river borders the state to the west, squiggling around little towns there.

The teddy bear has its origins near one of these towns. In the early 1900s, Teddy Roosevelt went hunting with the state’s governor. They came across a bear tied to a tree; Roosevelt refused to shoot. This tale became so popular, someone made a stuffed animal out if it!

In addition to (now-free-to-prowl) bears, you might find armadillos, swamp rabbits, crawfish snakes, and mud turtles in MS.

While you're in the marshes, you might want a slice of mud pie. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have anything to do with turtle habitats!

Further inland, you'll find the state tree, the citrusy Southern magnolia, symbolic of perseverance and pride. They're one of the most beautiful trees out there, I'd say.

This symbolism fits in with another cultural landmark of the Mississippi delta: blues. The blues emerged after the Civil War, incorporating the work songs of formerly enslaved people, African spirituals, and Christian hymns. 

It was a key inspiration for later genres like rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis Presley himself was from MS!

Today, Mississippians attend church more than the inhabitants of any other state.

But worship’s not the only thing drawing crowds. The International Ballet Competition is held in Jackson every 4 years. The other three cities in the world to host? Helsinki, Moscow, and Varna, Bulgaria. 

In the 70s, a prima ballerina wanted further access to the arts in the South. She campaigned to get the UNESCO-approved competition stationed here. And it was! Just shows what determination, optimism, and a little ignoring-the-impossible can do :)

MI.SS.I.SS.I.PP.I. I’m not sure if that's how you remember how to spell it, but it's how I learned!

"Mississippi" derives from an Ojibwe word meaning “great river.”

About 25% of all fish species in North America can be found in the Mississippi River. It takes 3 months for the water to flow from Lake Itasca down to the Gulf of Mexico, where the river releases more than 4 million gallons of water each second!

Twenty years ago, the first person to swim the entire Mississippi River completed the 2,414-mile task in 68 days!

The river borders the state to the west, squiggling around little towns there.

The teddy bear has its origins near one of these towns. In the early 1900s, Teddy Roosevelt went hunting with the state’s governor. They came across a bear tied to a tree; Roosevelt refused to shoot. This tale became so popular, someone made a stuffed animal out if it!

In addition to (now-free-to-prowl) bears, you might find armadillos, swamp rabbits, crawfish snakes, and mud turtles in MS.

While you're in the marshes, you might want a slice of mud pie. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have anything to do with turtle habitats!

Further inland, you'll find the state tree, the citrusy Southern magnolia, symbolic of perseverance and pride. They're one of the most beautiful trees out there, I'd say.

This symbolism fits in with another cultural landmark of the Mississippi delta: blues. The blues emerged after the Civil War, incorporating the work songs of formerly enslaved people, African spirituals, and Christian hymns. 

It was a key inspiration for later genres like rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis Presley himself was from MS!

Today, Mississippians attend church more than the inhabitants of any other state.

But worship’s not the only thing drawing crowds. The International Ballet Competition is held in Jackson every 4 years. The other three cities in the world to host? Helsinki, Moscow, and Varna, Bulgaria. 

In the 70s, a prima ballerina wanted further access to the arts in the South. She campaigned to get the UNESCO-approved competition stationed here. And it was! Just shows what determination, optimism, and a little ignoring-the-impossible can do 🙂
...

86 5
The Daily Minute: 12.5.12
In which we throw cookies and bask in holiday cheer as we drive our blinged-out bus in the Summit, Mississippi Christmas Parade. 

#busloadofbooks

The Daily Minute: 12.5.12
In which we throw cookies and bask in holiday cheer as we drive our blinged-out bus in the Summit, Mississippi Christmas Parade.

#busloadofbooks
...

54 6
In which the bus is festooned with holiday cheer for the Summit, Mississippi Christmas Parade. Thank you, @beckienieman !

#busloadofbooks

In which the bus is festooned with holiday cheer for the Summit, Mississippi Christmas Parade. Thank you, @beckienieman !

#busloadofbooks
...

49 5
The Daily Minute: 12.4.22
In which we spent the day touring Montgomery, Alabama with a man who is part of its history.

#busloadofbooks

The Daily Minute: 12.4.22
In which we spent the day touring Montgomery, Alabama with a man who is part of its history.

#busloadofbooks
...

40 2
For those of you who have been clamoring for manatee footage, taken by Robbi from her plexiglass kayak. 

#busloadofbooks

For those of you who have been clamoring for manatee footage, taken by Robbi from her plexiglass kayak.

#busloadofbooks
...

56 2
The Daily Minute: 12.3.22
In which our love of Georgia deprives you a glimpse of manatees. 

#busloadofbooks

The Daily Minute: 12.3.22
In which our love of Georgia deprives you a glimpse of manatees.

#busloadofbooks
...

34 2

The Busload of Books Tour is a yearlong 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 are spending 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.

Along the way, we’ll be conducting a major research project, making a picture book about America, and inviting our followers to join us on a yearlong exploration of our country’s unsung wonders and off-the-beaten-path communities.

As we travel, we will be blogging, vlogging, and posting daily to social media. All content will be appropriate for elementary-aged students who want to join us for the ultimate road trip.

Whoever you are, take your seat on the bus!

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