Like so many other mothers of young children, Alison Goldberg found herself “living and breathing trucks and trains for a few years.” When her two kids were in preschool, Goldberg added, the family “spent a lot of time gazing at the excavators. Luckily we live in Cambridge, where there’s always a construction site to visit!”
Goldberg always loved children’s books, but it wasn’t until she had her own children that she realized how much she wanted to write one. With “I Love You for Miles and Miles,” Goldberg combined the classic bedtime recitation of parental devotion with her kids’ obsession with construction and vehicles. The result is a picture book that celebrates a love that’s longer than the longest train and stronger than the strongest excavator.
“I think after awhile I started to really understand what vehicles meant to them,” Goldberg said. “That they were these really large and mysterious characters and there were all these metaphors built into them. I think that kids can be attracted to vehicles for some of the same reason they fall in love with dinosaurs.”
In addition to her own book — and the manuscripts she’s currently working on — Goldberg writes about children’s literature in a blog called M Is for Movement, which celebrates kids’ books that feature socially progressive themes. “For a long time my work focused on social and economic justice issues,” said Goldberg, whose career includes stints with nonprofits like the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger. “I really wanted to think about ways that I could combine the activism work that I’d been doing with children’s literature.”
While her own kids have mostly outgrown the allure of trucks and trains, Goldberg said, they are very excited about the book’s release. “They love seeing their names on the dedication page!”
Goldberg will read at 11 a.m. Thursday at Porter Square Books.
Kate Tuttle, president of the National Book Critics Circle, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.