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Today, June 19th we celebrate Juneteenth. On June 19, 1865 – only 155 years ago – Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and under “General Order Number 3“, slaves had been freed. Can you believe that we, as Black people, only became “free” in this country only a century and a half ago? I can’t either. I’m sure this is history our children have not yet learned unless taught by us, their parents. I’m sharing a list of children’s books that will help teach kids about Juneteenth and help celebrate the day our people were free.

10 Children’s Books to Celebrate Juneteenth & Learn About Black Liberation

On June 19, 1865 – only 155 years ago - slaves had been freed. Here's a list of children’s books to help teach kids about Juneteenth and black liberation.

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

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.

Age: 5-9

Sophie and Lelah Celebrate Juneteenth

Sophie and Lelah are first cousins and best friends. The two girls embark upon a journey of self-discovery after one of the girls suffers a minor injury at their family reunion. As a result, they learn about Juneteenth and discover the importance of family.

Juneteenth for Mazie

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.

Age: 6-9

The Story Behind Juneteenth (Holiday Histories)

Juneteenth, which is celebrated each year on June 19th, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. This holiday began in 1865, more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. News spread much slower back then, and when slaves in Texas finally learned of their freedom, the holiday was born. In this book, readers are given an in-depth look at the history of Juneteenth, including the events leading up to its creation. Readers will love learning about how this important moment in U.S. history is celebrated each year.

Age: 7-10

The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure

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.

Age: 8-11

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad 

Henry Brown doesn’t know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves’ birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday — his first day of freedom.

Age: 4-8

The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

Now that Hannah’s papa has decided to make the run for freedom, her patchwork quilt is not just a precious memento of Mama — it’s a series of hidden clues that will guide them along the Underground Railroad to Canada. A fictionalized account of fascinating oral history, THE PATCHWORK PATH tells the story of two of the thousands who escaped a life of slavery and made the dangerous journey to freedom — a story of courage, determination, and hope.

Age: 5-8

 

Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Fight for Equality in America

Take a crash course in the social justice issues that keep the United States from realizing its promise of equality! This civil rights book for kids is simultaneously a guide for parents and educators who worry about broaching the topics of racism, discrimination, and prejudice. Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Fight for Equality in America presents the reader with facts, biographies, and landmark supreme court cases in an easily digestible manner and within a historical context.

Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery

Born into slavery young Frederick dreams of the day he and his people will be free. Yet until that day comes, his only escape is through the books he reads, which take him to worlds far from his own. When a menacing overseer named Covey sees that Frederick is different from the others, he sets out to “break” the young reader. But Frederick’s surprising response to Covey’s brutality is an act of courage that frees forever what no person can hold captive: his spirit.

Age: 2-5

The Underground Railroad for Kids: From Slavery to Freedom with 21 Activities (For Kids series) 

The heroic struggles of the thousands of slaves who sought freedom through the Underground Railroad are vividly portrayed in this powerful activity book, as are the abolitionists, free blacks, and former slaves who helped them along the way. The text includes 80 compelling firsthand narratives from escaped slaves and abolitionists and 30 biographies of “passengers,” “conductors,” and “stationmasters,” such as Harriet Tubman, William Still, and Levi and Catherine Coffin. Interactive activities that teach readers how to navigate by the North Star, write and decode a secret message, and build a simple lantern bring the period to life.

Age: 9+

Read more Juneteenth stories from fellow Black bloggers

How are you teaching your children about Juneteenth and Black liberation?

 

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Kim S.
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Kim is a 30 something Brooklyn, NY native, currently enjoying Long Island suburban life with her husband and two daughters. She not only works full-time and is a freelance makeup artist, but also shares her love for the things that she finds beautiful: her love of family, travel, cars, and makeup and skincare on Beauty and the Bump NYC. In addition to that, she is a writer for A Girl's Guide to Cars. Now, if that wasn’t enough, she also took on the role of class parent for her daughter's 3rd-grade class. These are all tough jobs, but somehow, she gets it all done with style, grace, and of course, beauty.