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23 Children’s Books About Juneteenth for 2022

Books to teach kids about juneteenth in 2022

By Muhiuddin AlamPublished 2 years ago 10 min read
23 Children’s Books About Juneteenth for 2022
Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Today we will talk about 23 Children’s Books About Juneteenth for 2022. Juneteenth is on June 19th it is an African American holiday, on this day in 1865 slaves in Texas learned they were free they had a big celebration, we celebrate too how we go to church we give thanks we pray.

On June 19, 1865, Granger proclaimed General Order №3, declaring the freedom of 250,000 enslaved people in Texas, and by doing so, every enslaved person in America finally knew that slavery was over, they were freed.

Juneteenth commemorates this day and is passed down from generation to generation.

Explore the history of Juneteenth, the official end of slavery, by reading these children’s books about Juneteenth with your kids. And teach your kids about the history of Juneteenth with these 23 books about Juneteenth.

Browse this list of beautiful children’s books celebrating Juneteenth, for Preschool, Elementary School, Middle School, and High School, and Teach kids about Juneteenth (Freedom Day).

What is Juneteenth and Why Do We Celebrate?

Some of you may not be aware of this but America actually has two Independence Days. One celebrates America’s freedoms from Britain’s rule.

Another holiday, Juneteenth, commemorates a day when a Union General came into Texas and gave an order to actually end slavery.

Emancipation Proclamation take care of that?” And my answer to you is this: You actually thought the Confederate states obey the law?!

Okay. Sure. On January 1st, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared all slaves held in the Confederate States to be free. But that news never reached the Texas slaves and there are many theories as to why.

Maybe someone literally murdered the messenger that was sent to Texas to inform them. Maybe, in typical Confederate fashion, they withheld some information from the slaves. Some historians believe that since the Civil War wasn’t over yet that the lack of Union Army presence in Texas made it hard for Lincoln’s proclamation to be enforced.

Nonetheless, it was cotton-picking business as usual in Texas despite the proclamation. Some slave owners in neighboring states moved their slaves to Texas because they thought that the Confederate Army would eventually win the war and when it was over they could get their “property” back.

So when Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with Union soldiers behind him and saw all of these slaves he decided to make an announcement on June 19, 1865.

First off a proclamation was made by the President to free all these slaves two and a half years ago.

Second, off you are no longer slave owners and slaves. You’re employers and those are your hired workers.

Some slaves dipped out of there before Granger could even finish his announcement. Other slaves decided to go and leave the state so that they could repair their families that were torn apart from the slave trade. Others decided to fly up north. And they live happily ever after, right?

No, of course not. By law, they were free men and women but in reality, still enslaved by oppression and violence. Black bodies still hung from the branches. Some were even shot for their freedom. But freed men and women wanted to celebrate that they were just that: free.

They created a holiday that was originally called June the 19th but then it was kind of squeezed together and now it’s Juneteenth. When they wanted to celebrate the first annual Juneteenth, segregation laws forbade them from using public spaces.

Okay. That’s fine. We’ll celebrate near rivers and lakes. They dress in the fanciest clothes so they could combat laws that required them to wear ragged clothing. They ate barbecue, sang spirituals, and preached religious sermons. Strawberry soda was the drink of choice and they also ate a lot of red fruits and desserts like strawberry pie and red velvet cake to commemorate the blood that was spilled during slavery.

These rituals still occur in today’s Juneteenth celebrations, whether it be parades, cookouts, or five-day festivals. And since whites didn’t want to share their own spaces with blacks, blacks decided that they will raise their own funds for their own celebrations sites such as Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas.

As the former Texas slaves decided to migrate across the country, so did the importance of Juneteenth which is also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day.

In 1980 Texas was the first state to declare Juneteenth a state holiday when state offices are not close,d but partially staffed. So far, 45 states have recognized the historical significance of Juneteenth. And guess what? Alabama wasn’t last this time. Alabama was the 40th state to do so, but it didn’t get the same paid state holiday status as Confederate Memorial Day or Robert E. Lee Day.

There’s also a national campaign that makes Juneteenth a federal holiday. Whitewashed textbooks didn’t and still don’t mention Juneteenth. Because of that a lot of people are still finding out about Juneteenth.

So whether you found out about Juneteenth decades ago, a few weeks ago, or even just now, don’t worry. There will be plenty of cookouts, parades, and festivals to celebrate the resiliency of the black community.

Table Of Contents

1 All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom (aged 5–9)

2. Juneteenth for Mazie

3. Juneteenth (On My Own Holidays)

4. Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story

5. Juneteenth Jamboree

6. Opal Lee and What it Means to be Free

7. What is Juneteenth?

8. Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem

9. The Juneteenth Story

10. Juneteenth (Celebrating Holidays)

11. Let’s Celebrate Emancipation Day & Juneteenth

12. Juneteenth

13. The Story of Juneteenth

14. Traditional African American Arts and Activities

15. The Compton Cowboys: Young Readers’ Edition (ages 8–12)

16. A Good Kind of Trouble (ages 8–12)

17. Heart and Soul (ages 6–10)

18. Shaking Things Up (ages 4–8)

19. Juneteenth

20. Juneteenth (Beautiful Me Series)

21. Freedom Day: A Juneteenth Activity Book for Kids

22. How the Word Is Passed

23. The Color of Law

23 Books to Teach Kids About Juneteenth in 2022

Here are some thought-provoking books to teach kids of all ages about Juneteenth and the responsibility we all have now more than ever to dismantle the structures and institutions that survive liberation and make America truly free for everyone The place.

Here’s a list of books for young readers of all ages to read to learn more about Juneteenth and Black History.

1 All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom (aged 5–9)

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 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.

Told in Angela Johnson’s signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis’s striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation’s history.

Angela Johnson has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels The First Part Last, Heaven, and Toning the Sweep. The First Part Last was also the recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award. She is also the author of the novels Looking for Red and A Certain October.

Her books for younger readers include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book When I Am Old with You, illustrated by David Soman; Wind Flyers and I Dream of Trains, both illustrated by Loren Long; and Lottie Paris Lives Here and its sequel Lottie Paris and the Best Place, both illustrated by Scott M. Fischer.

Additional picture books include A Sweet Smell of Roses, Just Like Josh Gibson, The Day Ray Got Away, and All Different Now. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Kent, Ohio. Visit her at

This book tells the story of the first Juneteenth through the eyes of a young enslaved girl. Young readers can easily understand the hardships and cruelties of slavery, as well as the joy and optimism that the end of slavery will bring.

2. Juneteenth for Mazie

Floyd Cooper’s book portrays Mazie, a little girl tired of hearing “no.” From her parents, she doesn’t feel like she has any freedom.

However, when her father taught her about Juneteenth, she gained a new understanding of what freedom really means.

As she celebrated Juneteenth with her family for the first time, she thought deeply about the struggles and triumphs of her ancestors, and the work needed to achieve a truly free future for everyone.

3. Juneteenth (On My Own Holidays)

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.

4. Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story

With the help of their elderly Aunt Marshall, June and her cousin Lillie celebrate Juneteenth, the day Texas slaves found out they had been freed, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

5. Juneteenth Jamboree

Joining her parents in a community celebration of Juneteenth, Cassie learns about the day when slaves in Texas were freed some two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and wonders why the news took so long to reach them.

This book tells the wonderful story of Cassie, a young Texas girl who celebrates her first Juneteenth with her family. Not only did she learn about the festival, but the intense excitement and joy of the celebration helped her truly understand the precious gift of true freedom.

6. Opal Lee and What it Means to be Free

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 the 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!

But could one person’s voice make a difference? Could Opal bring about national recognition of Juneteenth? Follow Opal Lee as she fights to improve the future by honoring the past.

Through the story of Opal Lee’s determination and persistence, children ages 4 to 8 will learn:

  • all people are created equal
  • the power of bravery and using your voice for change
  • the history of Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, and what it means today
  • no one is free unless everyone is free
  • fighting for a dream is worth the difficulty experienced along the way

Featuring the illustrations of New York Times bestselling illustrator Keturah A. Bobo (I am Enough), Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free by Alice Faye Duncan celebrates the life and legacy of a modern-day Black leader while sharing a message of hope, unity, joy, and strength.

7. What is Juneteenth?

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.

Author Kirsti Jewel shares stories from Juneteenth celebrations, both past, and present, and chronicles the history that led to the creation of this joyous day.

With 80 black-and-white illustrations and an engaging 16-page photo insert, readers will be excited to read this latest addition to Who HQ!

8. Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem

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.

9. The Juneteenth Story

With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this introductory history of Juneteenth for kids details the evolution of the holiday commemorating the date the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom.

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.

Today, Juneteenth’s powerful spirit has endured through the centuries to become an official holiday in the United States in 2021. The Juneteenth Story provides an accessible introduction for kids to learn about this important American holiday.

10. Juneteenth (Celebrating Holidays)

On June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation Galveston, Texas became the last place in the country to learn the slaves were free. Today, Juneteenth is a joyful occasion with parades, speeches, music, and more!

This engaging book teaches the fascinating origins and traditions of Juneteenth, honoring the freedom of African Americans.

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About the Creator

Muhiuddin Alam

I'm Muhiuddin Alam, a blogger and content writer. Explore book recommendations and reviews of fiction, novels, and nonfiction on your trusted site & Geek Book

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