Today is Juneteenth! Use these five picture books to teach children about the day that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. These books tell the history, traditions, and celebrations of Juneteenth. Even though Juneteenth became a federal holiday just last year, June 19th has been held as a day of honor and celebration since 1865. Let’s teach children ALL of America’s history.
Scroll down for read alouds of each book, including some with the authors themselves.Book recommendations were created through lists by DC Public Library, Colours of Us, and Feminist Books for Kids.
Books and Donating to Safe Shores
We always share books to read because at Safe Shores we know reading is FUNdamental to helping us learn, grow, and heal. That’s why every child who comes to Safe Shores gets to select an age-appropriate book from our Safe Shores Library shelves. You can help Safe Shores fill our shelves by donating a book we need on our Amazon Wish List.
You can purchase the books about Juneteenth below for your own library using the “purchase” links below. You’ll be directed to Amazon Smile. Be sure to set your charitable organization to “Safe Shores – The DC Children’s Advocacy Center” and Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase directly to us. Amazon Smile is a great way to donate while shopping.
Juneteenth – A Children’s Story
WRITTEN BY: Opal Lee | ILLUSTRATED BY: Peter Viska
Watch the story about Opal Lee re-releasing her book about Juneteenth below, and click here to read more about her journey to teach children and adults alike about Juneteenth and make it a national holiday. Known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth” Opal Lee calls herself “a little old lady in tennis shoes getting in everybody’s business.”
Purchase Juneteenth – A Children’s Story here.
Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth
WRITTEN BY: Alice Faye Duncan | ILLUSTRATED BY: Keturah A. Bobo
Learn more about the life of the grandmother of Juneteenth herself, Opal Lee, in this read aloud of Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth.
Purchase Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth here.
WRITTEN BY: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Drew Nelson | ILLUSTRATED BY: Mark Schroder
WRITTEN BY: Carole Boston Weatherford | ILLUSTRATED BY: Yvonne Buchanan
Author Carole Boston Weatherford reads the book aloud in this video below. She also talks about why she chose to write Juneteenth Jamboree and other books about slavery, her history and enslaved ancestors, and about Juneteenth. The read aloud of the book itself begins around 4:30.
Purchase Juneteenth Jamboree here.
Juneteenth for Mazie
WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY: Floyd Cooper