As Fast As Words Could Fly
By Pamela Tuck
Illustrated by Eric Velasquez
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Young Mason Steele takes pride in turning his father’s excited ramblings about the latest civil rights incidents into handwritten business letters. One day Pa comes home with a gift from his civil rights group: a typewriter. Thrilled with the present, Mason spends all his spare time teaching himself to type. Soon he knows where every letter on the keyboard is located.
When the civil rights group wins a school desegregation case, Mason learns that now he will be attending a formerly all-white high school. Despite his fears and injustice from the students and faculty, Mason perseveres. He does well in school—especially in his typing class. And when he competes in the county typing tournament, Mason decides to take a stand, using his skills to triumph over prejudice and break racial barriers.
Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, As Fast As Words Could Fly is an inspiring testament to the power of hard work, determination, and belief in yourself to overcome life’s challenges.
Read Aloud with actor Dulé Hill, created and provided by Storyline Online, an interactive children's literacy website of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation sponsored by the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Read an interview with Pamela M. Tuck's father, Moses Teel Jr., here.
Download the interview in PDF
About the Creators
gets her love of storytelling from her grandfather, whose “jaw-dropping, eye-popping” stories enchanted her as a child. She began writing poetry in elementary school, then later ventured into writing short stories and plays. Tuck was inspired to write As Fast As Words Could Fly by her father’s experiences growing up in the 1960s in a family of civil rights activists. Tuck won Lee & Low’s New Voices Award for the manuscript for As Fast As Words Could Fly, her first picture book. She lives in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, with her husband and their children.
ERIC VELASQUEZ has illustrated more than thirty acclaimed picture books since 1997, when his first book was published. Among the awards he has received for his work are the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, the Carter G. Woodson Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. Velasquez also teaches book illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He lives in Hartsdale, New York. You can find him online at ericvelasquez.com.