Their 'Busload of Books Tour' has visited over 45 primary schools, where they give talks on how they create books and distribute hardbound copies of their books to each child.
As kids we all had vivid dreams of having all kinds of jobs, like becoming a vendor or a space navigator, all forgotten with the hectic routine of life. However, this couple made sure they built their dream into a reality. Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr are an author and illustrator duo from Maryland. In late August 2022, the couple departed from their home in a brightly painted school bus, which they had converted into an RV. Accompanied by their four children, aged between 6 and 15, and a family dog. They embarked on a year-long journey to bring books to underprivileged children in every state, per PEOPLE.
The couple's "Busload of Books Tour" has so far visited more than 45 primary schools, where they deliver talks on how they create books and give each kid a hardbound book. As co-authors of multiple children's books, the couple is determined to ensure that no child is left behind. Their plan is to donate 25,000 copies of their books to students attending underserved schools in every state.
"I cannot imagine something more gratifying. It is so heart-filling for us to do this. It was a really special day. They were so genuine and just so eager to connect with our kids. It was really, really great," Behr expressed. By the end of their last visit, which is scheduled to take place in a small Alaskan village, Swanson and Behr anticipate distributing 25,000 books. The two ship the books beforehand to the schools. Both "Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom" and "Everywhere, Wonder," written and drawn by the couple, are distributed to students.
Before each presentation, the pair creates a customized video for the school and uploads it to YouTube. They urge the instructors to play the video for the students, and according to Swanson, it's been a hit. "It makes the students feel like we're famous because we're on YouTube," he chuckled, recounting how it achieved the desired outcome.
"We're visiting communities that are oftentimes overlooked. And it means the world to the students that there are these people they think are famous coming to their school. It fills them with such excitement. We know what a valuable experience it can be to inspire kids about literacy and creativity," he added.
In a post talking about their journey on Instagram, where they go by @robbi.and.matthew, they wrote: "Suddenly, we've been on the road for eight months. A glance at the map reminds us this journey is nearing its end. We've visited 47 schools in 44 states, handed out roughly 22,000 books, and driven 22,700 miles. Security, dignity, and hope should be basic human rights, but every day we see the challenges that keep so many of us from achieving them: poverty, inequity, misunderstanding, and stories designed to divide us."