Nov 26, 11
Recommended to Meagan by:
Homeschoolers, Elementary History Teachers, Children's Libraries, Preteen readers
Read on November 26, 2011, read count: 1
LOVE TWELVE MILES LONG
By Glenda Armand
Illustrations by Colin Bootman
LOVE TWELVE MILES LONG is a story from the childhood of Frederick Douglas. The twelve miles refers to the distance Frederick’s mother had to travel to see her young son. This is an intriguing look into the childhood of a man, who would later champion the oppressed in a land that valued freedom for a select few though claiming it was the right of all men.
Glenda Armand’s work focuses on one night in young Frederick’s life when Mama came to visit him. Frederick asks her why he can’t live with her and Grandmama Betsey like he used to. Mama tells him she wishes he could, but it is not possible. When young Frederick asks if he could come visit her, she tells him the twelve mile journey would be too much for him. Frederick then asks how she can accomplish the journey if it is too much for him.
What follows is a moving journey that covers twelve miles of strength and faith. Mama tells Frederick that each mile is special and unique and this is how she is able to travel the distance to her son. The first mile is one of forgetting the aches, pains and labor of the day. The second is remembering her son. The third mile is for listening to the world around her and the fourth for observing the stars above. The fifth mile is for wondering about God and the sixth for praying to Him about the better days to come, days of freedom. The seventh mile is for singing and reviving herself for the rest of the journey and the eighth for thinking happy thoughts. The ninth mile is for giving thanks and the tenth was for hope - hope for freedom and chance to again be a family. Mama then tells Frederick that the eleventh mile was for dreaming the dream of freedom. As Mama puts Frederick to bed, he asks what the twelfth mile was. Mama tells Frederick that the twelfth mile was for love. As Frederick slept Mama slipped out to walk twelve miles home.
When Frederick woke the next morning, he knew that Mama’s love for him was twelve miles long. This love gave Frederick Douglas the courage and confidence to escape to freedom and to live the remarkable life that he lived.
The illustrations are moving, showing the love of both mother and son for the other and the value they placed on their time together. Love Twelve Miles Long is thoughtfully written. This title would be an important addition to any library collection and ideal for Black History Month.
I received an Advanced Reviewer Copy in digital format of this title for review purposes.