Juneteenth for Kids

The Juneteenth holiday (a portmanteau of June and nineteen) commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people were free ‚?? finally freeing slaves in Texas over two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Juneteenth holiday is a time to celebrate as well as a time to examine our history, to reflect on the legacy of slavery, and to look toward the future. Here are some books by Black authors and artists that celebrate African American culture, resistance and achievement.

Updated May 11, 2023
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The Juneteenth story : celebrating the end of slavery in the United States
Agostini, Alliah L.
The Juneteenth Story is an illustrated history of Juneteenth for kids, detailing its evolution from the first celebration in 1865 until it became a national holiday in 2021.
The undefeated
Alexander, Kwame
Winner of the 2020 Caldecott Medal A 2020 Newbery Honor Book Winner of the 2020 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time...
Let the children march
Clark-Robinson, Monica
This powerful picture book introduces young readers to a key event in the struggle for Civil Rights. Winner, Coretta Scott King Honor Award. In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King...
Opal Lee and what it means to be free : the true story of the grandmother of Juneteenth
Duncan, Alice Faye
Booklist starred review Black activist Opal Lee had a vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone. This true story celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew...
Juneteenth : our day of freedom
Wyeth, Sharon Dennis
Some call it Freedom Day; some call it Emancipation Day; some call it Juneteenth. Learn more about this important holiday that celebrates the end of chattel slavery in the United States in this Step 3 History Reader. On June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation...
Garrett, Van G.
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...
Before she was Harriet
Cline-Ransome, Lesa
Who was Harriet Tubman before she was Harriet? We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose...
What is Juneteenth?
Jewel, Kirsti
Discover more about Juneteenth, the important holiday that celebrates the end of chattel slavery in the United States. 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...
All different now : Juneteenth, the first day of freedom
Johnson, Angela
Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and 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...
Box : Henry Brown mails himself to freedom
Weatherford, Carole Boston
A 2021 Newbery Honor Book In a moving, lyrical tale about the cost and fragility of freedom, a New York Times best-selling author and an acclaimed artist follow the life of a man who courageously shipped himself out of slavery. What have I to fear?
Free at last : a Juneteenth poem
Kincaid-Rolle, Sojourner
This lyrical celebration of Juneteenth, deeply rooted in Black American history, spans centuries and reverberates loudly and proudly today. After 300 years of forced bondage; hands bound, descendants of Africa picked up their...
Freedom in Congo Square
Weatherford, Carole Boston
Winner of a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016 A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016: Nonfiction Starred reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and The...
A flag for Juneteenth
Taylor, Kim
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....
The bell rang
Ransome, James
Recipient of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019 A young slave girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom in this...
Unspeakable : the Tulsa Race Massacre
Weatherford, Carole Boston
Winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards for Author and IllustratorA Caldecott Honor BookA Sibert Honor BookLonglisted for the National Book AwardA Kirkus Prize FinalistA Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book"A must-have"--Booklist (starred review)Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and...
Sing a song : how "Lift Every Voice and Sing" inspired generations
Lyons, Kelly Starling
"Lyons delivers the history of a song that has inspired generations of African-Americans to persist and resist in the face of racism and systemic oppression. . . . A heartfelt history of a historic anthem."--Publishers Weekly Sing a song full of the faith that the dark...
Hey black child
Perkins, Useni Eugene
Six-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier brings this classic, inspirational poem to life, written by poet Useni Eugene Perkins. Hey black child, Do you know who you are? Who really...
Freedom over me : eleven slaves, their lives and dreams brought to life
Bryan, Ashley
Newbery Honor Book Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a person with...
The door of no return
Alexander, Kwame
An instant #1 New York Times Bestseller! From the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award winning author Kwame Alexander, comes the first book in a searing, breathtaking trilogy that tells the story of a boy, a village, and the epic...
Juneteenth for Mazie
Cooper, Floyd
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.
An American story
Alexander, Kwame
#1 New York Times Bestselling and award-winning author of The Undefeated, Kwame Alexander, pens a powerful picture book that tells the story of American slavery through the voice of a teacher struggling to help her students understand its harrowing history....
Juneteenth jamboree
Weatherford, Carole Boston
A young girl, who has just moved to her parents' hometown, realizes that she has come home after the African American emancipation celebration of Juneteenth. It's a fine day in June. Cassandra's family has just moved from the city back to her parents' hometown in Texas. Cassie likes...
Love twelve miles long
Armand, Glenda.
Set in the 1820s, this is the touching story of a slave who is separated from her son and walks 12 miles every night to see him. Beautifully illustrated and with lyrical text, Twelve Miles Long is a heart-warming story of the loving bond between mother and son. Frederick cannot understand why he can...
Born on the water
Hannah-Jones, Nikole
The 1619 Project's lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renee Watson. A...
Show way
Woodson, Jacqueline.
Winner of a Newbery Honor! Soonie's great-grandma was just seven years old when she was sold to a big plantation without her ma and pa, and with only some fabric and needles to call her own. She pieced together bright patches with names like North Star and Crossroads, patches with...
Sojourner Truth's step-stomp stride
Pinkney, Andrea Davis.
Born into slavery, Belle had to endure the cruelty of several masters before she escaped to freedom. But she knew she wouldn't really be free unless she was helping to end injustice. That's when she changed her name to Sojourner and began traveling across the country, demanding equal rights for...
Bud, not Buddy
Curtis, Christopher Paul.
Hit the road with Bud in this  Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning classic about a boy on a journey to find his father--from Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go To Birmingham--1963, a Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honoree.   ...
Freedom, we sing
Le©?n, Amyra
"I wonder, then, what freedom is. Is it a place? Is it a thought? Can it be stolen? Can it be bought?" As powerful as it is beautiful, Freedom, We Sing is a lyrical picture book designed to inspire and give hope to readers around the world. Molly Mendoza's immersive, lush...
The ABCs of Black history
Cortez, Rio
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER B is for Beautiful, Brave, and Bright! And for a Book that takes a Bold journey through the alphabet of Black history and culture. Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and...
Stamped (For Kids) Racism, Antiracism, and You
Reynolds, Jason.
This chapter book edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller by luminaries Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds is an essential introduction to the history of racism and antiracism in America   RACE. Uh-oh. The R-word.  ...

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