On Friday September 23, Marbletown Elementary School received a special visit from the Busload of Books Tour, a major literacy project led by author Matthew Swanson and illustrator Robbi Behr. The two are known for their “Cookie Chronicles” and “The Real McCoys” series.
The duo, along with their family, are spending the 2022-2023 school year living on a school bus, visiting a Title I elementary school in every state to celebrate creativity and collaboration. Title 1 schools are those that receive
financial assistance due to the high percentage of children from low-income households.
The primary goals of the Literacy Project are to raise awareness of the challenges facing US public schools and to foster reading, creativity, and collaboration among children ages 5-12. This event was organized at the school thanks to the library’s media specialist Alisa Finck. In recent years, she has purchased books through FirstBook
Marketplace, which offers books at discounted rates as they are donated by various publishers.
When FirstBook Marketplace announced that Behr and Swanson were planning their tour, Finck requested that Marbletown be the New York State School.
“The purpose of their tour is to shed light on the needs of Title 1 schools, donate books and inspire children to read,” Finck said in a press release. “During their visit, they inspired our students through discussions on creativity and expression in drawing and writing.”
The students had the opportunity to discover the professions of author and illustrator, to participate in an interactive assembly and to discover the colorful bus parked at their school. The second graders even collaborated with the duo to create a short illustrated story, which they titled “Super Carrot and the Potato of Doom.”
Each student and teacher received a hardback copy of the duo’s books, “Everywhere Wonder” or “Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom.” The tour’s original goal was to distribute 25,000 free books, but it has since received additional funding from donors. Through partnerships with FirstBook and the Build-A-Bear Foundation, it will now be able to distribute 150,000 books to students and educators in low-income communities nationwide.
Marbletown Elementary School Principal Andrew Davenport is grateful to the Busload of Books Tour for choosing Marbletown, and to Finck for his hard work in putting the school on the map.
“It was an enriching experience for our students to learn about the process of creating a book and the adventures of life on a bus,” he said in the statement. “Their visit is sure to leave a lasting impression.”