Perfect Picture Book Friday & Book Love Blog Hop: LOVE, TWELVE MILES LONG

It’s been a beautiful week – my birthday was on Wednesday – filled with loving messages from friends and family – and yummy chocolate and colorful flowers from hubby and daughter and grandson. Oh yes…and lest I forget…more snow from Mother Nature…because obviously, we haven’t gotten enough.


Since today is Perfect Picture Book Friday and tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and because I’m participating in Carrie Finison’s Book Love Blog Hop and Kristen Fulton’s 52 Weeks of Charting Non-Fiction, here’s my review of Love, Twelve Miles Long.

love twelve miles long


Written by Glenda Armand

Illustrated by Colin Bootman

Publisher: Lee and Low Books (2011 – New Voices Award Winner)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Mother/son love, slavery,


Opening Lines:

“This was a special night. Mama had come to visit, and Frederick’s stomach was full of the sweet ginger cake she had brought him. As Frederick sat on his mama’s lap, her warmth and the sound of her singing filled the candlelit kitchen.”


From Amazon:
“It’s late at night, and Frederick’s mother has traveled twelve miles to visit him. When Frederick asks Mama how she can walk so far, Mama recounts her journey mile by mile. Every step of the way is special, as it brings them closer together; and Mama passes the time by remembering, listening, praying, singing, and more.Set on a plantation in 1820s Maryland, this story based on the life of young Frederick Douglass shows the power of his mother’s love. The faith she has in her son puts him on a path to escape enslavement and to become a champion of human rights, an influential writer and speaker, and an unforgettable leader.Expressive, candlelit paintings illuminate the bond between parent and child in this heartfelt story. Love Twelve Miles Long will resonate with children of all backgrounds who cherish the tender moments they share with those they love.”

Why I like this book:

  • I love to learn about the childhood of famous people
  • Lyrical text
  • Engaging illustrations draw you into each scene – each face is illuminated and expressive



How a parent can use this book:

  • Take a walk with your child using a pedometer so your child can see how long one mile is – I took a walk with my 6 yr old grandson this past summer – he still talks about how long a mile is and how tired his feet got – so when I read him this story, he was able to relate to what a big undertaking it was for the mother to walk 12 miles to see her son.
  • Although the story is about the love of a mother for her son, it also gives young children a look at slavery and how difficult life was for families who got torn apart. When I read it to my grandson, he wondered why the mom could not live with her son. After my explanation, he said, “But that’s not right. They can’t do that!”

Related Activity:

Treasure Box


Every child needs a place to keep treasured mementos – help your child make one from an empty shoe box. Cover with wrapping paper. Decorate with family photos. We used this one to store Valentine’s Day cards.

Have you signed up for PB 14:14 yet? Please stop by Christie Wild’s website tomorrow where I’ll be guest-posting. I’m also planning to participate – 14 days of studying important elements, like plot, setting and character, in different picture books. So stay tuned for a flurry of posts from me.

And if you are looking for more picture book reviews, head over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, Feb 13, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Posted on February 13, 2015, in 52 Weeks of Charting Non-Fiction Picture Books, Book Love Blog Hop, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Valentine's Day craft and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Great review, Vivian! Love the title of the book. Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope you get more flowers and lots of chocolate. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My kind of story. Great for Black History month. I didn’t know the life story of Frederick Douglass. Behind every child is a loving mother who encouraged him to be a human rights activist.Great choice today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you read his biography, Vivian? One of my all time favorite reads! Looking forward to seeing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That treasure box activity looks like so much fun! Also the illustrations look gorgeous! I love the watercolor

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday, Vivian! And many more!
    LOVE, TWELVE MILES LONG captured my attention, so now I have to have it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cathy Ballou Mealey

    Another treasure from Lee & Low! Time for me to re-read this again. Thank you!


  7. You found another beautiful one! I wish I had bookshelves with every PPBF recommendation on it. Even for big people, 12 miles is a long walk! Happy Birthday.


    • Isn’t it lovely, Wendy? And I am right there with you – wishing I had all of these books on my shelves…and didn’t have to return them to the library…but I’d need a separate house just to store them all. 🙂 Thanks for the birthday wishes. 🙂


  8. Another beautiful book. Thanks Vivian. Ha just noting some of the comments above, yes 12 miles is certainly a long walk. I am so lazy. I must get out and enjoy what’s left of our summer before it goes. 🙂


    • Glad you like the book…it is one of my favorites. 😉 And I love to walk…but my knee doesn’t…I’ve been using the elliptical machine to strengthen it, so hopefully, when the weather gets warmer again (it will get warmer, won’t it, isn’t going to snow forever, right?)…I’ll be able to get out and walk. You are not work really hard all the time!!!!!


  9. Another great one. We checked out I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. Wow. That’s a well written story for a young audience.


  10. Thanks, Viv. After seeing this book on Sunday, I knew I had to read it too. Excellent choice for PPBF. LOVELY flowers. Happy birthday!


  11. Happy Birthday and Valentine’s Day! 😀


  12. Happy Days to you Ms Kirkfield!!!! What a celebration time it is!!! This book looks like pretty powerful stuff! 12 miles. That’s hard to wrap my head around. I can’t count that high. Thanks for sharing all the love!!!!


  13. From what you’ve shared here, I love everything about this book! The cover is beautiful; I too love reading about the childhoods of influential people; and the story just seems lovely. Thanks so much for sharing this review at Booknificent Thursday! I am looking forward to reading this book!


  1. Pingback: PB 14:14 Day Two: Top 10 Picture Book Story Elements – Beginnings and Endings | Picture Books Help Kids Soar

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