Thank you Jen and Kellee for hosting this weekly! To see what others are reading and recommending, or to participate, be sure to check out their blog Teach Mentor Texts :)
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett was published on March 1st and I wanted to read it right away, but it was always in the hands of one of my students (which I loved to see them so excited to read it!). It was free on Thursday so I took it to read, thinking that we might have a snow day Friday (and we did...yes, a snow day in March!) and I could not put it down.
It is an inspirational and heartbreaking story about a family that is forced into the shelter system in Chicago when the father mysteriously disappears one day. The young daughter, Early, is eager to find her father, who she calls by his first name Dash. She begins to investigate and tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together while they are living in the shelter because they lost everything that was in their one room home. They were robbed after the father went missing and their one room apartment was destroyed by the robbery. Her father, Dash, worked at the Chicago library and absolutely loved words, rhymes, and writing in little notebooks. He taught Early and her brother, Jubilation, to also appreciate words and collect them in little notebooks. Early uses these rhymes, words, and poems to help solve the mystery of who took her father and to save her family.
I love the integration of word play, rhymes, and poems that Blue Balliett weaves into this touching story. I also love the multiple definitions for words at the beginning of each chapter and the author notes at the beginning and end of the book about the devastating facts about the vast number of homeless children in Chicago.
Happy Reading! :)