Children’s author/illustrator duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr launched a nationwide literacy and creativity tour on September 2, 2022 in Wilmington, DE. The couple and their four school-age children are spending the 2022-2023 school year living and traveling in a converted school bus. Dubbed the ‘Busload of Books Tour,’ the family will be making a stop on their tour at Columbia Elementary on May 24th.
This first-of-its-kind tour will combine a nationwide book giveaway and the ultimate family road trip with a major research study on the impact of creator/student engagement. The key objectives are raising awareness of the challenges facing America’s public schools and empowering reading, creativity, and collaboration in children ages 5 to 12.
Author/illustrator visits can promote reading and creativity, but many schools can’t afford to bring in authors or buy new books. By visiting a Title I school in each state at no cost, Swanson and Behr (themselves the products of Title I schools) hope to bring books and creative learning opportunities to historically underserved communities and highlight the heroic work of public educators.
Swanson and Behr partnered with First Book to select the schools for the Tour. First Book is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit providing books to underserved schools and educators across the United States. Pre-K-1st graders will receive Everywhere, Wonder, a picture book about observation and storytelling. The 2nd and 5th graders will receive Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom, an illustrated middle-grade book (the first in a series) about figuring out what’s most important and living one’s life to the fullest.
About the Authors
Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr are authors and illustrators of the critically acclaimed Cookie Chronicles series, The Real McCoys trilogy, and the picture books Sunrise Summer, Babies Ruin Everything, and Everywhere, Wonder. When not advocating for local schools, giving talks on creative entrepreneurship, or running a summer salmon fishing operation on the Alaskan tundra, we live in an old barn on the Eastern Shore of Maryland—making books and raising our four kids. More about our books.