Robbi & Matthew's Busload of Books

READY TO HELP US PUT BOOKS ON THE BUS? Click here to contribute any amount through GoFundMe! Or CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION of $100 or more via our partner nonprofit. TO HEAR MORE ABOUT OUR PROJECT, READ ON:

The Busload of Books is a national literacy access initiative by children's author/ illustrator, duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr (that's us!).

We and our four kids and two dogs, spent the 2022-2023 school year living and traveling the country in a tiny home school bus:

Across a year on the road, we:

  • Gave free assemblies in Title I (high-need) elementary schools in all 50 states
  • Distributed 150,000 free books and 125,000 "reading buddy" teddy bears to students and teachers from high-need communities (in partnership with First Book and Build-A-Bear Foundation).
  • Facilitated the first-ever, large-scale research study of how author/illustrator visits impact elementary student attitudes about reading, writing, and drawing (in partnership with Washington College)


We're back home now, but the bus will keep rolling. There are nearly 47,000 Title I schools in the United States.

Starting in the fall of 2024, we'll be:

  • Doing monthly, in-person school visits and all-school book and “reading buddy “giveaways to Title I communities
  • Offering live, virtual assemblies, free to any Title I community
  • Continuing to collect data for our research partnership with Washington College

Stay tuned for our official launch early in 2024. Or feel free to donate now to help us bring books and creative empowerment to communities in need.

Books have been shown to have a positive impact on reading, academic performance, and language development. And yet books are often scarce for the kids who need them most.

We've done more than 60 all-school book giveaways in Title I schools (serving children from high-need communities), and the results have always been the same: Kids dive into reading and drawing. They start telling their own stories. They gain a sense of heightened possibility.

The research backs it up! Across all age groups and all three categories—reading, writing, and drawing—there was a statistically significant “assembly affect”, meaning bumps in engagement and interest in the wake of our visit.


Every $5 you donate will put a hardcover book in the hands of a deserving student or teacher—spurring reading, increasing engagement, and igniting creativity.
$150 buys books for an entire classroom.
$300-$500 covers an entire grade.
$2,500-$5,000 brings smiles to an entire school!

Click here to contribute any amount through GoFundMe.

Or make a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION OF $100 OR MORE, via our fiscal sponsor Kent Cultural Alliance. Be sure to mention "Busload of Books" in the notes field!

Here's what we know: Books have the power to change lives. 
Everyone should have access to them.

We partner with an incredible national nonprofit, a leading college, and a beloved local arts organization.

FIRST BOOK helps us identify schools where our visit and books will have the greatest impact.

THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AT WASHINGTON COLLEGE is using data we collected to power a major research project on the impact of author visits on creativity and literacy. 

KENT CULTURAL ALLIANCE will accept tax-deductible donations of $100 and above on our behalf. Be make sure to mention "Busload of Books" in the notes field!

Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr are author and illustrator 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 commercial salmon fishing in Alaska, they live in the hayloft of an old barn on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Learn

Learn more about Busload of Books:

Read our profile in the Washington Post

Visit our website

Learn more about our books.

Follow us on Instagram , Facebook , and YouTube . 

Donations (947)

  • Deborah Tong
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $150 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • George Seff
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Mary Gwynn
    • $50 
    • 6 mos

Fundraising team (3)

Matthew Swanson
Raised $18,767 from 104 donations
Chestertown, MD
Robbi Behr
Team member
Raised $9,880 from 77 donations
David Hornik
Team member
Raised $5,600 from 21 donations
This team raised $122,478 from 745 other donations.

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