7 Juneteenth Children’s Books

Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. It is a holiday that is celebrated on June 19 celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States on June 19, 1865. Here are seven children’s books to share with your Nanny Kids about the topic.

1. All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson

Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom 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. This is a great book for 3rd graders and up.

2. Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd 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. Sturdy board book edition is perfect for read-alouds with little learners. This book is recommended for kids 6- to 9-years-old.

3. Juneteenth by Drew Nelson and Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

June 19th, 1865, began as another hot day in Texas. Enslaved African Americans worked in fields, in barns, and in the homes of the white people who owned them. Then a message arrived. Freedom! Slavery had ended! The Civil War had actually ended in April. It took two months for word to reach Texas. Still the joy of that amazing day has never been forgotten. Every year, people all over the United States come together on June 19th to celebrate the end of slavery. Join in the celebration of Juneteenth, a day to remember and honor freedom for all people. This book is recommended for children aged 7- to 10-years-old.

4. Juneteenth: A Children’s Story by Opal Lee

Juneteenth: A Children’s Story is an engaging way to introduce the history of slavery and freedom to children in words they can understand. Ms. Opal highlights the celebration of Juneteenth and the importance of commemorating this milestone all across America. This book is recommended for children ages 5 – 11 years.

5. Raven The Great: What is Juneteenth? By Dr. Paulette McClain

View the world through the eyes of Raven (affectionately known as Rae Rae), an 11-year-old African-American girl growing up in South Louisiana. Raven shares among her class about a holiday not mentioned in her history book. Her colorful personality, and fun explanation of Juneteenth holiday grabs the attention of her classmates and sparks their interest to learn more.

6. The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure by Steven Otfinosk

The Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War have brought an official end to slavery, yet some Southern slave owners are refusing to comply. The road to freedom is still long and hard for many African Americans, but you’re not giving up. Will you: Overcome obstacles as you make your way north from Texas, looking to begin a new life of freedom?  Seek out your family, from whom you were separated as a child, after emancipation? Fight back when you take work as an apprentice but find that you’re still treated as a slave? YOU CHOOSE offers multiple perspectives on history, supporting Common Core reading standards and providing readers a front-row seat to the past. This book is recommended for children 8- to 11-years-old.

7. Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan

This is the true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday that represents the nation’s creed of “freedom for all.”

Every year, Opal looked forward to the Juneteenth picnic–a drumming, dancing, delicious party. She knew from Granddaddy Zak’s stories that Juneteenth celebrated the day the freedom news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation finally sailed into Texas in 1865 — over two years after the president had declared it! But Opal didn’t always see freedom in her Texas town. Then one Juneteenth day when Opal was twelve years old, an angry crowd burned down her brand-new home. This wasn’t freedom at all. She had to do something! Opal Lee spent the rest of her life speaking up for equality and unity. She became a teacher, a charity worker, and a community leader. At the age of 89, she walked from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C., in an effort to gain national recognition for Juneteenth. This is a good book for children ages 4- to 8-years-old.

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