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Three-year-old Lindsey approached her mother wearing a stocking as a cap, its long leg dangling over her shoulder. "I'm Rapunzel", she announced, "and this is my braid". As parent, reading partner, and social science observer, Shelby Wolf documented countless moments like this one during the preschool and early grade-school years of her daughters, Lindsey and Ashley. Over nine years, she taped their book-reading times together and kept detailed field notes, collected the girls' drawings and similar artifacts, and transcribed spontaneous incidents of talk and dramatic play. In The Braid of Literature, her careful observations and analysis interweave with Shirley Brice Heath's insightful commentary to present these materials within the context of current research in anthropology, linguistics, and cognitive psychology. Together, they have produced an unusual study of two young children who are learning to negotiate between the multiple texts of their everyday lives and their make-believe story worlds. This record of the literary experiences and responses of Lindsey and her sister is in itself a fascinating case study of one family. Growing up in an environment with parents who value books and reading, the girls absorb and recycle stories, play acting their plots and speaking the language of their characters. In the events around them they begin to recognize the rules that govern the story world and to puzzle out how these rules work in life and literature. For researchers, this book will serve as a rich resource on a range of interdisciplinary topics - inner speech, transferred learning, oral and written language acquisition, children's facility with figurative language, and aesthetic andimaginative development. For parents and teachers, it is a dramatic confirmation of the important role that literary language can play in children's literacy and socialization. By choosing to spend time with children and finding ways to talk about books - or television or videos - adults confirm the importance of stories and of what they teach us about enduring human values.