New Children's Books for Celebrating Juneteenth!

By Monica C. RSS Thu, June 9, 2022

In 2020, the city of Philadelphia declared June 19th a city holiday in recognition of Juneteenth, an important day in the history of African Americans and our country. New children's books have been released in the last couple of years celebrating this important day, and we are happy to have them in our collection.

Opal Lee and what it means to be free written by Alice Faye Duncan; illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo

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."

Ebook available from Overdrive

The Juneteenth story: celebrating the end of slavery in the United States written by Alliah L. Agostini; illustrated by Sawyer Cloud

On June 19, 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom. That day became a day of remembrance and celebration that changed and grew from year to year. Learn about the events that led to emancipation and why it took so long for the enslaved people in Texas to hear the news. The first Juneteenth began as “Jubilee Day,” where families celebrated and learned of their new rights as citizens. As Black Texans moved to other parts of the country, they brought their traditions along with them, and Juneteenth continued to grow and develop.

The story of Juneteenth written by Dorena Williamson

What are the origins of America’s newest national holiday? With simple, age-appropriate language and colorful illustrations, this little board book introduces children to the events of June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform the people of Texas that all enslaved people were declared free and the Civil War had ended. The book also connects those events to today’s celebrations. Thoroughly researched and historically accurate, The Story of Juneteenth distills a pivotal moment in U.S. history and creates an opportunity for further conversation between parent or caregiver and child.

Juneteenth: our day of freedom written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth; illustrated by Kim Holt

On June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, a group of enslaved men, women, and children in Texas gathered. Order Number 3 was read, proclaiming that they were no longer enslaved--they were free. People danced, wept tears of joy, and began to plan their new lives. Juneteenth became an annual celebration that is observed by more and more Americans with parades, picnics, family gatherings, and reflection on the words of historical figures, to mark the day when freedom truly rang for all.

What is Juneteeth? written by Kirsti Jewel; illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez

On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved men, women, and children in Texas gathered around a Union solder and listened as he read the most remarkable words they would ever hear. They were no longer enslaved: they were free. The inhumane practice of forced labor with no pay was now illegal in all of the United States. This news was cause for celebration, so the group of people jumped in excitement, danced, and wept tears of joy. They did not know it at the time, but their joyous celebration of freedom would become a holiday--Juneteenth--that is observed each year by more and more Americans.

Free at last: a Juneteenth poem written by Sojourner Kinkaid Rolle; illustrated by Alex Bostic

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.

Not brand new, but still well worth reading:

Juneteeth for Mazie written by Flyod Cooper

Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history. The day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth.

All different now: Juneteenth, the first day of freedom written by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms.

Ebook available from Overdrive


Be sure to check our catalog and Overdrive Kids eReading Room for these titles and many more being added.


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