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Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, commemorates the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans in the United States. It’s a day of reflection, celebration, and education. For families and educators looking to introduce children to this important holiday, there are numerous books that can help explain its significance in an engaging and age-appropriate way. Here’s a list of some wonderful Juneteenth books for children, including the vibrant “Juneteenth Jellybean” by Arian T. Moore.

1. Juneteenth Jellybean by Arian T. Moore

Foreworded by the Grandmother of Juneteenth, Opal Lee, “Juneteenth Jellybean” presents the history of Juneteenth in a fun and engaging way, featuring bright, colorful illustrations and a relevant, kid-friendly storyline. The book also features positive affirmations and a coloring page for children to enjoy. “Juneteenth Jellybean” is sure to be a favorite for years to come.

Purchase “Juneteenth Jellybean” here.

2. Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

“Juneteenth for Mazie” tells the story of a young girl named Mazie who is ready to celebrate freedom. Through her father’s storytelling, Mazie learns about the hardships and triumphs of her ancestors, leading up to the first Juneteenth. Floyd Cooper’s rich illustrations and heartfelt narrative make this book a touching introduction to the holiday.

Purchase “Juneteenth for Mazie” here.

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

This beautifully illustrated book by Angela Johnson recounts the day the news of emancipation reached the last group of enslaved African Americans in Texas. Through the eyes of a young girl, readers experience the profound impact of freedom. The poetic text and evocative illustrations make it suitable for children aged 5-9.

Purchase “All Different Now” here.

4. The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure by Steven Otfinoski

The Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War officially ended slavery, but some Southern slave owners are refusing to comply. The journey to freedom remains challenging for many African Americans, yet you refuse to give up. Will you:

  • Overcome obstacles as you make your way north from Texas, seeking a new life of freedom?
  • Search for 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 are still treated as a slave?

When YOU CHOOSE, history comes alive.

Purchase “The Story of Juneteenth” here.

5. “Juneteenth Jamboree” by Carole Boston Weatherford

In “Juneteenth Jamboree,” Carole Boston Weatherford tells the story of Cassandra, a young girl who moves to Texas and discovers the significance of Juneteenth. Through a community celebration filled with music, dancing, and stories, Cassandra learns about her heritage and the importance of this day. The vibrant illustrations and engaging narrative make it an excellent choice for children aged 4-8.

Purchase “Juneteenth Jamboree” here.

6. “Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story” by Valerie Wesley

“Freedom’s Gifts” by Valerie Wesley is a heartfelt tale of a young girl named June and her cousin Lillie. Set in Texas, the story revolves around their Juneteenth celebration and the powerful history behind it. Through the eyes of these young characters, readers learn about the day General Granger arrived in Galveston with news of the Emancipation Proclamation. This book is suitable for children aged 6-10.

Purchase “Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story” here.

These books not only help children understand the importance of Juneteenth but also encourage discussions about freedom, history, and cultural heritage. By integrating these stories into your reading routine, you can ensure that the legacy of Juneteenth continues to inspire future generations.

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