5 Children’s Books That Celebrate Juneteenth
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved African-Americans that they were free and that the Civil War had ended. Since then, communities across the country have celebrated Juneteenth (which is derived from June and 19) as an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in America.
While the holiday has been celebrated every year since the late 1800s, this year, there’s been a resurgence around the day, likely due to the recent protests calling out the ongoing systematic racism in America. While celebrations may look different this year due to the pandemic, you can still take the day to reflect on the past and learn about the history of Juneteenth and racial injustice in America. Then, make a plan on ways you can help, moving forward, to create equality for all.
One big way to help? Raising good, kind humans who spot injustice and stand up for equality. These five books about Juneteenth, all available at Black-owned bookstores, are a great way to kick off the conversations with your little ones.
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson, E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)
Told through the eyes of a little girl in free-verse poetry, the book tells the story of the first Juneteenth. The picture book also includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms.
Age range: 5 to 9 years old Buy it : $17, Elizabeth’s Bookshop and Writing Centre
Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
This book tells the story of a young girl named Mazie, as she talks to her father about the meaning of Juneteenth. Together, they remember the struggles and the triumphs of their ancestors and get ready to celebrate freedom.
Age range: 6 to 9 years old Buy it : $16, Mahogany Books
Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford, Yvonne Buchanan (Illustrator)
Written with powerful text and illustrations, the book tells the story of a young girl named Cassandra and her family, who have just moved to Texas and celebrate Juneteenth for the first time, with lots of delicious food, friends and fun.
Age range: 6 to 9 years old Buy it : $11, Brave + Kind Bookshop
Juneteenth by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Drew Nelson, Mark Schroder (Illustrator)
The book paints a picture of what life was like on June 19, 1865 in Texas. The story presents easy-to-digest information and teaches young readers the history and importance of the holiday.
Age range: 6 to 12 years old Buy it : $8, Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books
Juneteenth by Rachel Grack
On June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Galveston, Texas became the last place in the country to learn that slaves were free. Today, Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated with parades, speeches, music and more. This engaging book teaches children the origins and traditions of Juneteenth, all while honoring the freedom of Black Americans.
Age range: 4-8 Buy it : $7, Brain Lair Books
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