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Children's Books to Celebrate Juneteenth


Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 that emancipation finally came to enslaved Africans in Texas.  There, white slaveholder resistance and a small union army presence kept people in bondage for over two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers reached Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and enslaved people were free. 

A mashup of the words "June" and "nineteenth." Juneteenth has been celebrated by African American communities for many decades. It hasn't been until the past few years that the holiday became recognized more widely. In June 2021 it was declared a national holiday. The publishing industry has responded with a handful of new children's books to commemorate Juneteenth. Check out a few today and learn more about how the library is celebrating Juneteenth here!

Text adapted from "Juneteenth: The Other Independence Day" by Hadiya Evans, Reference Librarian (Engage, June 2022)

The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating The End Of Slavery In The United States
Agostini, Alliah L.
An illustrated history of Juneteenth for kids, detailing its evolution from the first celebration in 1865 until it became a national holiday in 2021.
Juneteenth For Mazie
Floyd Cooper
Little Mazie wants the freedom to stay up late, but her father explains what freedom really means in the story of Juneteenth, and how her ancestors celebrated their true freedom.
Opal Lee And What It Means To Be Free : The True Story Of The Grandmother Of Juneteenth
Alice Faye Duncan
The true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone will inspire children to be brave and make a difference. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that most Americans had never heard of the holiday that represents the nation's creed of "freedom for all."
All Different Now: Juneteenth, The First Day Of Freedom
Angela Johnson
In 1865, members of a family start their day as slaves, working in a Texas cotton field, and end it celebrating their freedom on what came to be known as Juneteenth.
Free At Last: A Juneteenth Poem
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
Deeply emotional, evocative free verse by poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle traces the solemnity and celebration of Juneteenth from its 1865 origins in Galveston, Texas to contemporary observances all over the United States. This is an ode to the strength of Black Americans and a call to remember and honor a holiday whose importance reverberates far beyond the borders of Texas.
Juneteenth Jamboree
Carole Boston Weatherford
Cassandra and her family have moved to her parents' hometown in Texas, but it doesn't feel like home to Cassandra until she experiences Juneteenth, a Texas tradition celebrating the end of slavery.

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