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Juneteenth: 6 Children's Books by Black Authors that Honor Juneteenth

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, or Jubilee Day is celebrated on June 19th each year. To learn more about Juneteenth, visit this post, which includes even more books about Juneteenth.


All of the picture books featured here are written by Black authors and are perfect for helping kids understand and appreciate Juneteenth. They also all published in 2023. For your convenience, we've included publisher's descriptions along with each book.

Expert quilter Kim Taylor shares a unique and powerful story of the celebration of the first Juneteenth, from the perspective of a young girl.


On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, General Gordon Granger of the Union Army delivered the message that African Americans in Texas were free. Since then, Juneteenth, as the day has come to be known, has steadily gained recognition throughout the United States. ln 2020, a powerful wave of protests and demonstrations calling for racial justice and equality brought new awareness to the significance of the holiday.


A Flag for Juneteenth depicts a close-knit community of enslaved African Americans on a plantation in Texas, the day before the announcement is to be made that all enslaved people are free. Young Huldah, who is preparing to celebrate her tenth birthday, can't possibly anticipate how much her life will change that Juneteenth morning. The story follows Huldah and her community as they process the news of their freedom and celebrate together by creating a community freedom flag.


Debut author and artist Kim Taylor sets this story apart by applying her skills as an expert quilter. Each of the illustrations has been lovingly hand sewn and quilted, giving the book a homespun, tactile quality that is altogether unique.



A lyrical picture book about our newest national holiday, Juneteenth follows the annual celebration in Galveston, Texas--birthplace of Juneteenth--through the eyes of a boy coming to understand his place in Black American history in a story from three Texan creators.


A young Black child experiences the magic of the Juneteenth parade for the first time with their family as they come to understand the purpose of the party that happens every year--and why they celebrate their African American history!

The poetic text includes selected lyrics from "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the unofficial Black National Anthem, and the vibrant art illuminates the beauty of this moment of Black joy, celebrated across the nation. This vibrant adventure through the city streets invites young readers to make a joyful noise about freedom for all.



This inspiring Little Golden Book tells the story of one young boy's first experience celebrating Juneteenth.


When Jayylen's grandfather, Paw Paw Jimmy, begins preparing for a big Juneteenth celebration, Jayylen has a lot of questions. Most importantly, what is Juneteenth? His mother and Paw Paw Jimmy explain that the holiday marks the anniversary of when enslaved African Americans found out that they were free. Paw Paw Jimmy plays some zydeco for him, which is the type of music they will dance to at the celebration. Jayylen practices every day so that he will be able to play the frottoir (a percussion instrument similar to a washboard) for everyone. But will he be able to pull off an even bigger surprise for the day?



This moving picture book tells the story of Juneteenth with all the care and reverence such a holiday deserves. The rhyming text and stunning illustrations will teach children about this historic day in history.


'Twas the night before freedom, and all through the South,

long-whispered rumors had, spread word of mouth.

"It's coming! It's coming!" I heard people say.

"Emancipation is coming our way."


Eight-year-old David and his family gather at Grandma's house in Galveston, Texas, for a cherished family tradition: Grandma's annual retelling of the story of Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.


The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln meant that all enslaved persons within the rebellious states would be free as of January 1, 1863. However, people in Texas did not receive the news of their emancipation until two and a half years later--on June 19, 1865.


Grandma tells the story of anticipation, emancipation, and jubilation just as it was told to her many years before by her own grandmother, Mom Bess. As a six-year-old, Bess had experienced the very first Juneteenth. Before that day, she could only imagine what liberty would look like. But once freedom arrived, would it live up to a little girl's dreams?


The story is written in the same meter as Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas, making it a perfect book for parents and kids to read together.



This bounce-to-the-beat picture book by America's favorite rapping teacher from Chicago is a tribute to the sights and sounds of a city neighborhood and the special bond between brothers as they help each other overcome their fears.


Today is June 19th, Juneteenth's what they say and for my family, it's a very special day.


But sometimes the hood feels scary when we're walking around. I wish I could stay home where it's safe and sound. Where the dogs aren't BARKING, and the cars aren't HONKING, and the streetlights aren't FLICKERING.


But when Big Bro tells me it will all be okay, I know the noises can't hurt me and ruin my day.



A celebration of Juneteenth for babies and toddlers!


Let's Celebrate Juneteenth Board Book from Mudpuppy is a wonderful introduction to Juneteenth, a federal holiday in the United States on June 19th commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Colorful illustrations show various ways people celebrate the anniversary of freedom for all!


  • Celebratory Message - This book introduces young children to this important commemorative holiday and opens the door to understanding that not everyone was or is free.

  • Bright and Bold Artwork - Bright and colorful illustrations on 26 pages will make this a happy and rewarding experience for toddlers to experience and understand inclusion.

  • Perfect Size - Small 7" x 7" board book is just the size for little hands.

  • Great Gift Idea - This board book makes a wonderful gift for birthdays and special occasions all year through.


Looking for great read aloud ideas? Visit these fabulous book lists:

 

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