Reading is important to the Pearl family and Early's father reads to his children constantly. The Pearls dream of owning a home in a nice neighborhood. So to earn extra money, the father starts a side job delivering old books. But this job lands him in serious trouble. Early's father just disappears!
Balliett demonstrates her own love of words throughout this novel. She writes poetically about the city of Chicago and the power of family. Her use of wordplay through Early's voice allows the reader to see the magic and power of words. Being a self-proclaimed word nerd myself, Hold Fast illustrates all the wonder I see in language.
The characters in this book are well developed and believable. Early is persistent, clever and true to her family. The story line is intriguing as Balliett takes readers on a variety of twists and turns. What happened o Early's father? Will the family ever be together again? Was Early's dad the man they thought he was?
Hold Fast also introduces younger readers to the poetry of Langston Hughes. One of his books is at the center of the main mystery of the book. The poems ring true to Early and touch deep into the heart of the family and Early starts to see his words as clues. As Hughes reflects on the importance of dreams, Early has dreams of her own.
Students who like a bit of mystery and a story of persistence will enjoy this book. Hold Fast is great as a read aloud and for adults as well. The book doesn't stay long on my classroom bookshelf and has gotten rave reviews from my class.