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As Fast As Words Could Fly Hardcover – April 20, 2013


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$18.59 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 12 years
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books; 1 edition (April 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600603483
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600603488
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2-5-Velasquez's vibrant paintings animate this earnest story based on actual incidents in the life of the author's father. Fourteen-year-old Mason transcribes letters for his father, a local civil rights activist; as a reward, he receives a manual typewriter. Then he and his older brothers learn that they'll be among the first to desegregate their local high school. It's not easy: the school bus driver refuses to stop for them, fellow students and teachers ignore them; but as Pa says, "Somebody's got to make a change." Mason quietly perseveres and his typing skills win him a job in the school library. Eventually, he earns the right to represent the school at a regional typing contest. Velasquez deepens readers' understanding and empathy for these characters with well-chosen details: Mason listens eagerly to Pa's impassioned speeches as Ma looks on with a bemused smile. The striking compositions in rich browns and blues, along with Tuck's pride in her family, help distinguish this story of perseverance and courage. This well-crafted tale would be an excellent complement to overviews of the Civil Rights Movement.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In her debut offering, Tuck draws on her grandfather’s experience as a teen during the civil rights movement in Greenville, North Carolina, to tell a moving story that captures the history with immediacy and drama. At 14, Mason Steele helps his father’s civil rights group write letters, and he is thrilled when they buy him a manual typewriter. Then the adult activists win the right to integrate high school, but Mason and his brothers face harassment on the school bus and in the classroom. As the fastest typist in his class, Mason is chosen to represent his school in a high-school typing tournament, and he wins, breaking all the records. From the beautiful cover picture of the boy’s fingers on the typewriter keys, to the ugly view of the racist bus driver who tells the black pupils to “get to the back,” Velasquez’s handsome oil paintings on watercolor paper bring close the details of one boy’s struggle. Told from a personal viewpoint and appended with a powerful author’s note, this is a story to share across generations. Grades 3-8. --Hazel Rochman

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
The artist did a great job with the illustrations!
J. M. Alford
A deep underlying message is...no matter what the struggle is that we face...we must persevere.
Roslyn
This book is so well done that I am not sure where to begin.
Naila Moon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By b-writer on August 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Somebody's got to make a change.

This is the theme brought to life in As Fast As Words Could Fly, the story of fourteen-year-old Mason Steele, his family, the American Civil Rights movement, and a typewriter. The art beautiful, realistic, the perfect complement to the simple, heartfelt story. The story begins by showing a handsome, well-groomed, baseball and football loving young man bent over his studies. I wanted him for my son. Seriously. On every page we see Mason's world, loving parents, anxiety, and the power of change.

Mason helps his father's civil rights group. His skill with pencil and paper helps him create business letters used to advance the cause. The group gives him a manual typewriter (the pictures really help since too few people today even remember those things, much less have seen one). He teaches himself to type over the summer and his words and abilities expand.

Life changes when school resumes. Mason's efforts have helped the civil rights group desegregate the local school. Instead of the daily thirteen mile trip to the black school, Mason and his brothers begin the even harder journey to the formerly all-white school. At first the bus driver refuses to stop to pick them up. When they get to school, they are met at the door by officials who do not want them to enter. White students, even the few who had been friendly before, now shun the black boys. (view spoiler)

In the end we feel hopeful for Mason and for his family's future. And we know that future will involve writing. The book includes an author's note about her father and his own life during this time period, her inspiration for the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cyrus Webb TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Somebody's got to make a change."

Those are the words that young Mason Steele is told by his father in AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY and they speak volumes to me long after I finished this book by Pamela M. Tuck. I think they will resonate with you as well.

Mason is a young man who has to feel the sting of racism and yet embraces the gifts that he has been given. Doing what he can to make a difference he is soon able to benefit from having an equal chance when it comes to education, but it comes with some difficulty. Staying true to himself and the words of his father prove to be part of what sustains him, and when a competition allows him to show off his skills we are able to see what it means not to allow others to bind us.

What Pamela Tuck does in AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY is showcase not only what it means to be your best but why you shouldn't allow others to limit you or how far you can go. Through the characters we can see how though others might not celebrate what we accomplish it is important for us not to underestimate the power of humble beginnings.

Giving us a story that is easy to relate to AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY is the perfect motivation to do your part in changing the world for the better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By This Kid Reviews Books on December 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The story follows Mason and his brothers as they attend a school that used to be all white. Many students, teachers and administrators are not happy that Mason is there. Mason uses his skills on the typewriter to continue to help his father, gain respect from some people and prove that he has an amazing skill.

Why I liked this book -

I like how Ms. Tuck puts explains segregation in a kid-friendly way, from Mason's POV. It makes it more powerful. The world needs more books like this. I like how Mason preferred a manual typewriter to an electronic one in the typing contest he entered. The book is historical fiction but is based on Ms. Tuck's father's experiences during that time period. There is an author's note at the end of the book with more details about the history and story behind this story. It really added to the book.

Mr. Velasquez's illustrations were amazing! The expressions on the character's faces told even more of the story. I love all the details he included in them.
I think this book should be in every household and classroom!
*NOTE I bought my own copy of this book at a book festival
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Hayes on April 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book portrays a bit of African American history in an interesting manner. It tells of how a young man uses his typing ability to further the cause of Civil Rights during the period of school segregation. As young Mason encounters several unfortunate situations, the author expresses the incidences and Mason's feelings in ways that the reader can easily understand. The story shows how successful a student can be if he is courageous and works hard in spite of difficult circumstances. This book is well written and definitely a keeper.
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Format: Hardcover
Tales which are written as tributes to a family member or a friend are always special, whether or not they are of excellent quality. As Fast As Words Could Fly by Pamela Tuck is based on the memories of her father. What’s more, it has a strong plot, positive characters, and an inspiring message. That makes it a top-notch picture book.

Fiction which is solely message-driven tend to end up in my reject pile. As Fast As Words Could Fly works foremost because of the strong plot, which is set with the very first sentence: “Trouble was brewing in Greenville, North Carolina.” As a reviewer, I have read many books, where the author has mastered the art of creating an exciting introduction but then can’t sustain the momentum. Not so for Pamela Tuck. Mason needs to help his dad write another letter of protest for the civil rights group, who thank him with a typewriter. A few months later, Mason ends up facing his own discrimination on the school bus, in typing class, at the library, and even with a school tournament. I have also read some books where the author hooked me until the end only to then betray me. The ending for As Fast As Words Could Fly, although based on true events, is perfect. It’s realistic to the times but includes a twist fitting Mason’s unique skills.

The positive characters make for a huge plus too. Fourteen-year-old Mason works hard evening on his lessons. When his family needs him, he’s readily available. I love these two lines: “New problems meant more work for Mason. He didn’t mind though because helping Pa’s civil rights group made Mason feel real important.” When Mason faces discrimination in his own life, he doesn’t grow bitter but instead pays extra hard to the teachers and then practices at home.
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More About the Author

Pamela has been writing since her childhood. She credits her writing to an upbringing, surrounded by southern storytellers. She began with poetry in elementary school. After receiving encouragement from family, teachers, and friends, she branched out into short stories and plays. Pamela received the 2007 New Voices Award from Lee & Low Books for her children's book, "As Fast As Words Could Fly".

Pamela enjoys writing with her husband, Joel, who studies writing techniques and styles. He collaborates his research with Pamela's writing, providing essential ideas for character and plot development.

Pamela and Joel hope that their books will inspire a diversity of people through the art of words.

Visit Pamela & Joel's personal web page at http://www.pamelamtuck.com

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