Hold Fast.

From Hold Fast, by Blue Balliett. (Scholastic, 2013).


Dashel Pearl offered words to his kids from the day they were born. A man who loved language almost as much as color or taste or air, he explained to his daughter, Early, that words are everywhere and for everyone.
“They’re for choosing, admiring, keeping, giving. They are treasures of inestimable value,” Early heard him say many times. Even when she didn’t know what inestimable meant, she understood it from the careful way he said it.
Dashel played a game with Early and Jubie. It began like this: he would throw his arms out and yell, “Words are free and plentiful!”
From the time they learned to talk, one or ther other would shout back, “Free! Plentiful!”
Each time Dashel sat down to read aloud, book in hand, he’d look sideways and whisper, “Words are…”
One or both of the kids would whisper back the next three words, finishing a sentence that then opened the story. Three words with ee and if inside them, Early thought, sounds that could fly: syllables that became wings with feathers and bones, weightless and yet sharp.



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