100 books like Love Twelve Miles Long

By Glenda Armand, Colin Bootman (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Love Twelve Miles Long fans have personally recommended if you like Love Twelve Miles Long. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Other Side

Nancy I. Sanders Author Of D Is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet

From my list on inspirational African American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a bestselling and award-winning KidLit author of more than 100 books, I’ve been blessed to specialize in writing for kids about the amazing and inspiring legacy of African Americans. From an alphabet book for even the youngest readers to biographies with hands-on activities for middle graders and up, both nonfiction and fiction as well, these stories are my passion because many of these individuals are my personal heroes as well. I want kids to love and honor these men and women who have made a difference in our world as much as I do!

Nancy's book list on inspirational African American history

Nancy I. Sanders Why did Nancy love this book?

I’m a big fan of the art of E. B. Lewis, especially his award-winning picture books. (He illustrated my book.) This book is one of my favorites that he’s illustrated. It’s a story about growing up. And friendship. And how kids know what’s right and wrong even if we as adults get it muddled at times.

By Jacqueline Woodson, E.B. Lewis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Other Side as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Clover's mom says it isn't safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups' rules by sitting on top of the fence together.

With the addition of a brand-new author's note, this special edition celebrates the tenth anniversary of this classic book. As always, Woodson moves readers with her lyrical narrative, and E. B. Lewis's amazing talent shines in his gorgeous watercolor illustrations.


Book cover of Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist

Nancy I. Sanders Author Of D Is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet

From my list on inspirational African American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a bestselling and award-winning KidLit author of more than 100 books, I’ve been blessed to specialize in writing for kids about the amazing and inspiring legacy of African Americans. From an alphabet book for even the youngest readers to biographies with hands-on activities for middle graders and up, both nonfiction and fiction as well, these stories are my passion because many of these individuals are my personal heroes as well. I want kids to love and honor these men and women who have made a difference in our world as much as I do!

Nancy's book list on inspirational African American history

Nancy I. Sanders Why did Nancy love this book?

I love reading and learning about great achievements by amazing people. Major Taylor was one of these people whose life story is an inspiration to us all. Plus, this story about his achievement as a cyclist is exciting for kids (and adults!) to experience! You can hear the crowd roar as Major Taylor comes from behind to soar across the finish line and win!

By Lesa Cline-Ransome, James E. Ransome (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Discover the inspiring true story of extraordinary professional cyclist Major Taylor in this nonfiction picture book from Coretta Scott King Award winners Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome.

In 1891, Marshall Taylor could ride his bike forward, backward, even perched on the handlebars. When his stunts landed him a job at the famous Indiana bike shop Hay and Willits, folks were amazed that a thirteen-year-old black boy could be such a crackerjack cyclist.

Little Marshall Taylor would use his dedication, undeniable talent, and daring speed to transform himself into Major Taylor, turning pro at the age of eighteen, winning the…


Book cover of Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship

Nancy I. Sanders Author Of D Is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet

From my list on inspirational African American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a bestselling and award-winning KidLit author of more than 100 books, I’ve been blessed to specialize in writing for kids about the amazing and inspiring legacy of African Americans. From an alphabet book for even the youngest readers to biographies with hands-on activities for middle graders and up, both nonfiction and fiction as well, these stories are my passion because many of these individuals are my personal heroes as well. I want kids to love and honor these men and women who have made a difference in our world as much as I do!

Nancy's book list on inspirational African American history

Nancy I. Sanders Why did Nancy love this book?

This is just a great book by a great author and great illustrator. It’s about the amazing and inspiring friendship of two of the most important men in the history of America. It compares and contrasts different stages of different ages of both these men and gives us a glimpse into the story behind the story of their deep friendship. Every child (and adult) should read this timeless story today.

By Nikki Giovanni, Bryan Collier (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lincoln and Douglass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

In celebration of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday in February 2009, we present this story of the unusual friendship between two great American leaders. At a time when racial tensions were high and racial equality was not yet established, Lincoln and Douglass formed a strong bond over shared ideals.


Book cover of Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

Nancy I. Sanders Author Of D Is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet

From my list on inspirational African American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a bestselling and award-winning KidLit author of more than 100 books, I’ve been blessed to specialize in writing for kids about the amazing and inspiring legacy of African Americans. From an alphabet book for even the youngest readers to biographies with hands-on activities for middle graders and up, both nonfiction and fiction as well, these stories are my passion because many of these individuals are my personal heroes as well. I want kids to love and honor these men and women who have made a difference in our world as much as I do!

Nancy's book list on inspirational African American history

Nancy I. Sanders Why did Nancy love this book?

I met the author Andrea Davis Pinkney and her husband at a conference. I’ve always admired the Pinkney family and their award-winning books for children, so when Andrea shared about her book, I wanted an autographed copy for my own home library. A book for older readers, it contains the biographies of 10 amazing women who took a stand and made a difference in our world. The art is beautiful, too!

By Andrea Davis Pinkney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let It Shine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and sparked a boycott that changed America.Harriet Tubman helped more than three hundred slaves escape the South on the Underground Railroad.Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U.S.House of Representatives.
The lives these women led are part of an incredible story about courage in the face of oppression; about the challenges and triumphs of the battle for civil rights; and about speaking out for what you believe in--even when it feels like no one is listening.Andrea Davis Pinkney's moving text and Stephen Alcorn's glorious portraits celebrate…


Book cover of The Middle Passage: White Ships / Black Cargo

Laura Freeman Author Of Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

From my list on award-winning, illustrated books on African American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Laura Freeman is a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honoree. Her work has been recognized with an NAACP Image Award, reached the New York Times Best Seller List, been honored by the Society of Illustrators, the Georgia Center For The Book, and in the Annuals for Communication Arts and American Illustration. She has illustrated over thirty children’s books, most of them biographies.

Laura's book list on award-winning, illustrated books on African American history

Laura Freeman Why did Laura love this book?

This stunning book was published in 1995, but it is still one of my favorites. Tom Feelings’ black and white illustrations are haunting and powerful. It wordlessly tells and shows the story of the tortuous journey of the slaves brought from Africa to the Americas. Words are not needed with images this powerful.

By Tom Feelings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Middle Passage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Alex Haley's Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people.


Book cover of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by Himself

Scott Peeples Author Of The Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City

From my list on early American Gothic not written by Edgar Allan Poe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by Gothic literature (and art, music, and movies), and I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to talk and write about it—I teach at the College of Charleston (SC), where I just completed a course on American Gothic. I’m especially interested in nineteenth-century American writers, and I’ve written three books on Edgar Allan Poe, the most recent of which is The Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City. For this list, I limited myself to Americans who, like Poe, wrote before and during the Civil War.

Scott's book list on early American Gothic not written by Edgar Allan Poe

Scott Peeples Why did Scott love this book?

This might seem like a strange pick, since it’s almost never described in terms of Gothicism.

Douglass’s narrative is essential reading regardless—a compelling narrative and one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century literature. What makes it Gothic? In Douglass’s world, nothing is what it appears to be, because slavery has corrupted not only institutions but virtually all personal relationships. There are trap doors everywhere and a constant threat of violence.

A century and a half before Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Douglass’s book describes the Gothic horror of everyday life under slavery.

By Frederick Douglass, John R. McKivigan, IV (editor), Peter P. Hinks (editor) , Heather L. Kaufman (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most influential literary documents in American and African American history, now available in a critical edition

"This edition is the most valuable teaching tool on slavery and abolition available today. It is exceptional."-Nancy Hewitt, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Rutgers University

Ideal for independent reading or for coursework in American and African American history, this revised edition of the memoir written by Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) of his life as a slave in pre-Civil War Maryland incorporates a wide range of supplemental materials to enhance students' understanding of slavery, abolitionism, and the role of race in American society. Offering readers…


Book cover of Captured

Shawna Barnett Author Of Windfall

From my list on adventure with women at sea.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the beginning of my reading journey, I wished for more stories about women who were courageous, passionate, and in control of their own destiny. I wanted to write books for female readers who loved characters like Zorro, Robin Hood, and Jack Sparrow, but wanted to see themselves shining through them. In the process of researching, I discovered unforgettable characters like Captain Mabbot and Clare Sullivan. The Legends of Vioria series focuses on such women, who use their wit and strength to navigate the world. It is my hope to continue to write stories that will inspire others just as the books in this list inspired me. 

Shawna's book list on adventure with women at sea

Shawna Barnett Why did Shawna love this book?

Captive is another romance with pirates and passion. It’s part of a larger series featuring the LeVeq family. In this story, privateer Dominic LeVeq, frees and falls for slave Clare Sullivan. Soon they become desperate to have each other. I loved the relationship between these two characters and the devotion that develops between them.  

By Beverly Jenkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Captured as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a high-stakes historical romance from award-winning romance author Beverly Jenkins.


Book cover of Corregidora

Tracey Rose Peyton Author Of Night Wherever We Go

From my list on race and reproductive rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a fiction writer interested in exploring big historical moments through the lives of ordinary people. The extensive fight for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy for women, specifically black women, has long been a concern, admittedly for selfish reasons. This ever-shifting terrain—from eugenics and sterilization to coerced birth control and the rise in maternal mortality rates—was initially perplexing to me and it took a great deal of reading to make sense of it. Such research not only informed my historical novel, Night Wherever We Go, but much of how I understand the world. I’d argue one can’t fully comprehend the current abortion rights moment without understanding how race and reproduction are so deeply intertwined.

Tracey's book list on race and reproductive rights

Tracey Rose Peyton Why did Tracey love this book?

No one writes like Gayl Jones.

Her language, voice, and narrative style make her a singular entity all unto herself. Her first novel, Corregidora, explores the tumultuous life of a blues singer haunted by a dastardly familial trauma. When the novel opens, the protagonist, Ursa Corregidora, has just suffered a horrible accident that renders her unable to have children. 

What happens afterwards is a complex and raw exploration of lineage, darkness, and sexuality. It’s a haunting, relentless book. And it’s not hyperbole to say that it changed the course of black women’s literature.

The rest of us, trying to grapple with the intricacies of race & sex, are simply writing in her wake.

By Gayl Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Corregidora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of The New Yorker’s “The Best Books We Read in 2020” picks

“Jones’s great achievement is to reckon with both history and interiority, and to collapse the boundary between them.”—Anna Wiener, The New Yorker

The new edition of an American masterpiece, this is the harrowing story of Ursa Corregidora, a blues singer in the early 20th century forced to confront the inherited trauma of slavery.

A literary classic that remains vital to our understanding of the past, Corregidora is Gayl Jones’s powerful debut novel, examining womanhood, sexuality, and the psychological residue of slavery. Jones masterfully tells the story of…


Book cover of The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

John Micklos Jr. Author Of Raindrops to Rainbow

From my list on recent picture books with a message.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written 60 books over the past 20 years. My titles include picture books, poetry books, and dozens of nonfiction books covering a wide range of history and social studies topics. My picture books deal with concepts such as counting and colors. I enjoy rhyming and wordplay and conveying ideas in simple terms. 

John's book list on recent picture books with a message

John Micklos Jr. Why did John love this book?

An outgrowth of the 1619 project, this masterful picture book traces a family’s roots from Africa through generations of enslavement in the United States to today. A young girl’s grandmother tells stories in the form of poems that convey joy, terror, heartache, persecution, struggle, and triumph. Illustrations move from light during the times in Africa to dark during the decades of enslavement and back to light in the present. The book ends on a positive note with the girl drawing an American flag—the flag of the country that her ancestors helped build and “that I will help build, too.”

By Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson, Nikkolas Smith (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 1619 Project: Born on the Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

The 1619 Project's lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renee Watson.

A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders.
But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to…


Book cover of Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom

Marybeth Gasman Author Of Making Black Scientists: A Call to Action

From my list on the history of African American education.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marybeth Gasman has been writing about African American history – within the educational setting – since 1994 when she began research that led to on an intellectual biography of African American sociologist, Harlem Renaissance architect, and Fisk University president Charles Spurgeon Johnson. Over the years, her work has explored many topics, including the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Black medical schools, African American philanthropy, and the production of Black scientists. She is the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Professor in Education & a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University and also serves as the Executive Director of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, & Justice.

Marybeth's book list on the history of African American education

Marybeth Gasman Why did Marybeth love this book?

Williams is another beautiful writer and what I love most about this book is it dispels the very harmful myths about Black intelligence during and after slavery. The author shares the many ways that enslaved Africans taught each other to read even though reading or teaching a Black person to read was illegal in all of the southern states. Reading, storytelling, and passing on knowledge across generations is part of the African American tradition and Williams captures all of this and more in this beautiful book.

By Heather Andrea Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Self-Taught as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this previously untold story of African American self-education, Heather Andrea Williams moves across time to examine African Americans' relationship to literacy during slavery, during the Civil War, and in the first decades of freedom. Some slaves devised creative and subversive means to acquire literacy, and when slavery ended, they became the first teachers of other freedpeople. Williams argues that by teaching, building schools, supporting teachers, resisting violence, and claiming education as a civil right, African Americans transformed the face of education in the South to the great benefit of both black and white southerners.


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