A magical library on wheels

Sydney Writers’ Festival is continuing in its planning for the Russ the Story Bus Tour in Term Four, expected to run from 11 October–3 December 2021. All planning is being undertaken with up-to-date public health advice and in consultation with schools. 

All aboard the magical bus with a belly full of books

Our favourite library on wheels, Russ the Story Bus, is back! For eight weeks throughout Term 4 (Monday 11 October to Friday 3 December), Russ the Story Bus will be visiting schools throughout the Greater Sydney area and regional NSW, covered in vibrant illustrations from a children’s book illustrator on the outside and filled with the latest and greatest new children's books on the inside.

Joining Russ to make his literary expedition even more special are some of Australia’s most loved children’s book authors and illustrators – soon to be announced! 

See Russ in action in the video below. 

Some history about Russ the Story Bus

Seven years ago, Sydney Writers’ Festival transformed an ordinary bus into Russ the Story Bus: a bright and colourful creative space full of bookshelves stocked with books and comfy benches for kids to read. He was also covered in colourful picture book illustrations.

Russ was created to support children at the very beginning of their reading journey and spark a lifetime love of storytelling, reading and creativity. We hope that a visit from Russ the Story Bus – complete with an author or illustrator talk – helps foster that lifelong connection with books that begins in childhood.

Each year, Russ the Story Bus visits nearly 8,000 children. Russ the Story Bus has been visiting schools since 2014, making this our seventh school tour. 

A Russ the Story Bus school visit

On Russ the Story Bus, students can: 

  • talk to the visiting children’s book author or illustrator
  • discuss their favourite books with Festival staff and volunteers
  • choose a brand-new book to take home and keep forever.

Students will also enjoy taking part in an interactive talk presented by a children’s book author or illustrator. The speaker will share their love of books, discuss their craft, answer questions and inspire children to think creatively about reading, writing and storytelling. 

What teachers say...

‘Each student gained a rich learning experience and created a happy memory.’ Gillian Maugle, Teacher Librarian, Wiley Park Public School

‘The joy of the children’s faces when they realised they actually were getting to keep the books was priceless.’ Kate Martin, Teacher Librarian, Riverbank Public School

‘We try every day to instil in our kids a genuine love of reading … so to be supported by you in that endeavour is so lovely.’ Darren Denmead, Teacher Librarian, Bathurst West Public School

2021 expressions of interest are now closed 

A visit from Russ the Story Bus is free for schools and is suitable for primary school children. Up to 220 children are able to take part in a Russ the Story Bus visit, which includes two 40-minute presentations and ample time to visit Russ the Story Bus to browse and select a book to keep. Sydney Writers’ Festival is able to offer some flexibility in the schedule for each school visit, as we understand that school timetables are not the same everywhere.

2021 expressions of interest are now closed, but to ensure you are on the waitlist, please fill out our online expression of interest form. For information on eligibility and more, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Russ the Bus would not be possible without the vital support we receive from donors to our Education Program. If you would like to learn more about supporting the Festival, visit our Support page

For more information, please contact Head of Children’s and YA Programs, Amelia Lush:

02 9256 4209


Authors attending the 2020 tour (to be announced)

Russ the Story Bus Partners