Greetings, Wonderful Busload of Books Tour Host!
We’ve pulled together the following materials to give you a high-level sense of the various steps involved in hosting us at your school. More detail will be provided closer to our actual visit, but for now…
FREE BOOKS! HOORAY!
Free books for every student and teacher will be shipped directly to your school from First Book well in advance of our visit.
- A few weeks prior to our visit, distribute the teacher copies only.
- Following our assembly on the day of our visit, distribute the copies to the students.
We will be sending book plates in advance of our visit for you to place inside the books before they are distributed to students.
- Video – We will provide a personalized video (hosted on our website), for you to use in introducing us to your students in advance of our visit.
- Pre-visit materials – We’ve prepared classroom exercises teachers can use to introduce our books, acclimate students to the related themes, and prepare them for our visit.
- Post-visit materials — We’ve also created exercises for teachers to reinforce and expand upon the themes of our presentations and give students an opportunity to apply them.
The materials are being offered as an optional layer of support for your teachers and students. Their use is encouraged but not required!
BASIC SCHEDULE (for the day of our visit)
- 8:00am – we arrive and get set up
- 9:00am–10:00am – first assembly (pre-K–1 or 2–5, your choice)
- 10:30am–11:30am – second assembly (pre-K–1 or 2–5, your choice)
- 12:00pm–1:00pm – lunch/small group session
For the sake of our sanity across 50+ visits, having a set schedule is really helpful, but if the above simply doesn’t work for your school, let us know, and we can discuss alternatives.
SMALL GROUP SESSION
- We’d love to have lunch with a small group (8-10) of your students and a handful of your teachers. We’ll answer questions, take photos, sign books, and maybe even take a tour of the bus!
- We encourage you to select students you think would get the most out of the opportunity—and not necessarily your highest-achieving students. This is our chance for direct engagement, so if there are kids you think might especially benefit from spending some time with us, please send them our way!
- We’ll be providing a special permission slip for the students you select for this group. We’ll be asking for permission to photograph them for use in our social media posts. We’ll also be selecting one student from each school to potentially include (with first name, short quote, and illustrated likeness) in a book we’re making about the tour.
- We are partnering with the Department of Education at Washington College to conduct the first-ever large-scale study to measure the impact of author visits in Title I schools. The resulting data could provide a difference-making tool for educators, authors, and grant writers to use in facilitating an increase in author visits and book giveaways to Title I schools in the future.
- We’ll be asking you to oversee the administration of three simple surveys, either on paper or online.
1) conducted as a baseline prior to our visit
2) conducted directly after our assemblies on the day of our visit
3) conducted one month following our visit
- Our research team will cover the cost of printing and mailing paper surveys, and will support you in keeping track of the administration of the surveys by sending reminder emails.
- We will share a video that describes the research project, and its purpose, aimed at children and families. This information will help provide context and answer questions about what the surveys will look like, and why they are important.
- We will provide a consent form for you to send home with students in advance of our visit—giving parents an opportunity to opt out of their child participating in the research. (Alternately, we will provide opt-in forms if your district requires it.)
- We will also ask teachers, librarians, other staff and administrators to participate in surveys, too. Understanding the experiences of school professionals is critical to demonstrating the impact of an author visit experience to a national audience.
- We will provide additional information on the research in the coming months, once the details of the project are finalized and approved by the Washington College Institutional Review Board.
- The person leading the research project is the wonderful and wise Dr. Sara Clarke-De Reza, Professor of Education at Washington College. You may reach out to her directly with questions.
We won’t require your school to participate in the research, but we’d really, really (really!) appreciate if you would. The scale and structure of our tour presents once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collect this potentially transformative data, and the more schools that participate, the more meaningful the results will be.
- Digital projector (we’ll bring our own adapters)
- Screen (the bigger the better!)
- Two microphones (hand-held wireless is ideal, but cords are also fine)
Please let us know if you’re unable provide any of the above!
We’d love to park the bus prominently outside your school on the day of our visit so your students can all see it as they arrive (as long as this is not too disruptive, of course)
- We encourage you to designate at least one teacher to set up a DonorsChoose campaign (which allows private donors to help individual teachers buy classroom supplies), which we will promote to our followers.
This is not mandatory! But it’s a great way for the people following our tour to support your school directly—and an opportunity for your community to learn about how to set up similar campaigns in the future.
We’ve tried to give you a helpful overview of what to expect without drowning you in too much detail at this point. But if you have any burning questions now, feel free to send us an email.
Click here to confirm the date of our visit, give us your final numbers, and officially accept our invitation to host us on the tour! Please confirm by December 8th!
HIGH-LEVEL HOSTING RESPONSIBILITIES CHECKLIST/TIMELINE
WELL BEFORE WE VISIT
- Follow us on Instagram (so you can follow our tour preparations and travels) at robbi.and.matthew
- Give us final headcount (ASAP during summer 2022)
- Identify and schedule the space where we’ll be presenting
- Figure out tech (screen, digital projector, two microphones)
- Send consent forms and informational materials related to research participation to parents
- Select group of 8-10 students for our small group session (and send home their special permission slips)
- Familiarize teachers with the classroom exercises and research project
A FEW DAYS PRIOR TO OUR VISIT
- Have students and teachers fill out preliminary/baseline survey
- Distribute introductory video for teachers to share with students
- Distribute teacher copies of books (and encourage teachers to show them to students)
- Distribute educational materials and encourage teachers to do pre-visit activities
- Make sure research permission forms have been sent home to parents
- Make sure students for small group have their permission slips filled out
- Place book plates in student books
ON THE DAY OF OUR VISIT
- Prepare presentation space and set up technology
- Have books ready (with bookplates affixed) to distribute to students after our presentations
- Have students and teachers fill our survey after our presentations
AFTER OUR VISIT
- Distribute post-visit educational materials and encourage teachers to use them as an opportunity to reinforce the themes of our visit and encourage students to read the books.
- Administer follow-up survey a month following our visit (you will receive an email reminder)
- Return completed surveys to the research team!
- Follow the rest of our tour with your students!
is an illustrator/print maker/commercial salmon fisherwoman who earned a BA from Williams College and an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. When she is not drawing stuff or eating ice cream or watching sappy late-90s chick movies, she is, in all likelihood, fast asleep.
is a writer/art director/blues harmonica player who has so far failed in every attempt to be swashbuckling. He managed to secure a BA from Williams but was summarily rejected from every MFA program to which he applied—thus emboldening Robbi to remind him almost daily that he is a master of nothing.
WE STARTED OUT RUNNING TWO SMALL PRESSES THAT LIVE AT THE INTERSECTION OF PICTURES, WORDS, AND PAPER
VARIOUS MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS, AND WEBSITES HAVE SEEN FIT TO GIVE US A NOD.
The Modern Life column did a profile of our family and the “joys and challenges of raising kids while working from home.”
The Washington Post
Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic Michael Dirda noted our “never-ending exuberance and flair for mischief.”
The New York Times
In an interview on their ArtsBeats blog, referred to Idiots’Books as a “very successful indie publishing business.”
Ran a four-part series on our creative partnership by acclaimed nonfiction writer Joshua Wolf Shenk.
Included our book Ten Thousand Stories in its 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.
Referring to our book Build Your Own President, novelist Cory Doctorow referred to us as “flipbook masters.”
New York magazine
Classified our work in the “Brilliant and Lowbrow” quadrant of their Approval Matrix. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
On its Pop Candy blog, named Idiots’Books among its “top-10 ‘personal faves” of the indie comic world.
On its Great Writing blog, called us “downright inspiring” and “relentlessly innovative storytellers.”
Has featured our work three times on its GeekMom blog, calling us a “hilarious husband and wife team.”