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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Learning About Juneteenth

On Sunday June 19th, we observe Juneteenth across the country. It is a holiday full of history, both celebratory and shadowed by slavery and racism. It marks the date in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce freedom for all enslaved people in the state and is considered the effective end of slavery. The celebration spread outward from Texas and has become a chance to embrace Black culture, with food, music, prayer services, and more. Juneteenth was not officially recognized as a federal holiday until 2021, though it has been celebrated for far longer. If you'd like to take the time this Juneteenth to learn about the history behind it, explore this reading list of books (many for children) that share the story of the holiday. Click the links to request books through our catalog.

The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States, Alliah L. Agostini, illus. Sawyer Cloud

Juneteenth for Mazie, Floyd Cooper

Juneteenth, Lisa A. Crayton

Let's Celebrate Emancipation Day & Juneteenth, Barbara deRubertis

Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth, Alice Faye Duncan

Juneteenth: A Novel, Ralph Ellison

On Juneteenth, Annette Gordon-Reed

Juneteenth, Rachel Grack

Hidden Black History: From Juneteenth to Redlining, Amanda Jackson Green

What is Juneteenth?, Kirsti Jewel, illus. Manuel Guiterrez

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

Juneteenth, Denise M. Jordan

Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem, Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Juneteenth: A Day to Celebrate Freedom From Slavery, Angela Leeper

Juneteenth, Joanna Ponto & Angela Leeper

Juneteenth, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson & Drew Nelson, illus. Mark Schroder

The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure, Steven Otfinoski

The Story Behind Juneteenth, Jack Reader

Come Juneteenth, Ann Rinaldi

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith

Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations, Nicole Taylor

Freedom's Blessings: A Juneteenth Story, Valerie Wilson Wesley

Juneteenth, Kevin P. Winn & Kelisa Wing

Juneteenth: Our Day of Freedom, Sharon Dennis Wyeth, illus. Kim Holt

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