Perfect Picture Book Friday! As Fast As Words Could Fly by Pamela M. Tuck

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a picture book meant for older kids that talks about segregation in schools and the civil rights movement. I thought it was done very well.

asfastaswordsAs Fast As Words Could Fly

By Pamela M. Tuck

Illustrated by Eric Velasquez

40 pages – ages 9+

Published by Lee & Low Books on April 1, 2013

Theme/Topic- Segregation/Racism/civil rights

Opening and Synopsis- Taken from the first page and inside jacket –

Trouble was brewing in Greenville, North Carolina.

Young Mason Steele takes pride in turning his father’s 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.”

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!

Hey, here’s a cool fact: Ms. Tuck is a fellow PiBoIdMo participant! 😀


Activities and Resources – At the publisher’s website there is a section of discussion questions on the book. I think it would be a great resource for teachers and parents to talk about desegregation. Click HERE to go THERE.

There is also an interview with Mr. Moses Teel Jr. (Ms. Tuck’s father whom she based the book on) called “Voices from the Civil Rights Movement” that you can find HERE.

You can learn more about Ms. Tuck and her other books by visiting her website HERE.

Like Ms. Tuck on Facebook HERE.

You can learn more about Mr. Velasquez and his illustration works HERE.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Categories: Age 9+

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

36 replies

  1. This is a very cool story. . Love the illustrations and the message in this story. Wow, so the author is in PiBoldMo, how cool
    Thanks for sharing this, Erik.

  2. Looks like a neat book! How cool that the author is in Piboidmo, too!

  3. Erik, your opinions from a ‘kid’s’ point of view are very helpful to adult writers as well as to parents, teachers, and others buying books for kids. Keep up the good work!

  4. What an incredible story! And you’re right about the illustrations. And about how this book should be in every classroom. I’ll have to check this one out. Thanks Erik!

  5. Thanks. This sounds really great, especially since it has a basis in true events.

  6. Looks like a great story on several different levels. I loved my old typewriter when I was a kid.

  7. I have the same themed book as you, Erik , about segregation and civil rights but not as aggressive as yours. I”ll look your’s up. Looks like I need to read it. 🙂

  8. The illustration work looks fabulous.

  9. I just love all the true family stories out there about historical events. And, I like it even more when they decide to write a book. I had an orange manual typewriter as a kid a “Tom Thumb.” Don’t laugh to hard. In high school I learned to type on manuals and used them in college. It wasn’t until I started working at newspapers, did I have an electric.

  10. Great review son. Keep bringing attention to important topics.

  11. Love Lee @ Low, can’t believe I missed this one. Thanks so much for reviewing it, Erik.

  12. Your mention of this book sharing about such an important topic in a kid-friendly way is a priceless statement. There are so many topics that could use this kind of handling.
    Thanks for sharing about this book.

  13. Super choice, Erik! This is an important topic and it looks like the book handles it well.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  14. Great choice. I need to read this one. I did read one of her other books, “Color Struck,” it is for an older audience but it is very well written. I enjoyed it very much. Before we moved, we used the same library as Pamela and I got to touch base with her via email. She is very nice and writes extremely well.
    ~Cool Mom

  15. I’m so glad you liked this book too! I loved it!!

  16. I love practically all of the books published by Lee & Low. This one is a new to me title. I am also a huge fan of Velasquez’ artwork. Will check if we have this in our libraries.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: