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by Glenda Armand & illustrated by Colin Bootman

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60060-245-0
Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Frederick Douglass’ mother imparts 12 lessons, one for each mile she walks on her clandestine nighttime visits to him.

The author has taken as her inspiration the line from Douglass’ writings in which he remembers his mother teaching him that he was “somebody’s child.” Douglass was in fact separated from his mother as an infant and rarely saw her. She died when he was 7. In this story, she walks the 12 miles from plantation to plantation and shares with him what each means. The first mile is for forgetting about being tired, and the following miles are for praying, giving thanks to God, singing, smiling, hoping to live together as a family, dreaming about freedom and loving her son, among others. In this, her debut effort, Armand focuses on the positive aspects of maternal devotion and a mother’s dreams of greatness for her son. The full-page watercolor paintings capture the nighttime setting and depict a loving mother and child with no overt signs of the horrors of slavery. Unfortunately, the text is sometimes difficult to read on the dark background.

Share this with young readers as a series of homilies on dreams and a family love strong enough to overcome any adversity.

(afterword) (Picture book. 3-6)