7 Books to Help Teach Kids About Juneteenth

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By Angela Johnson, The Root

Black families can teach about history by reading together at home (wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

This weekend, the country will celebrate Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Although people have celebrated Juneteenth since 1865, Texas was the first state to make it a holiday in 1980. And it only became an official federal holiday in 2021.

If you’re looking for ways to teach your kids about Juneteenth, we’ve rounded up a list of books that explain why we celebrate the day in the most kid-appropriate way possible. And as you read with your little ones, you may learn a little something yourself.

Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story is a wonderful way to bring the holiday to life for your third and fourth graders. Set in 1943, the story centers around a young girl who teaches her cousin about the importance of Juneteenth with the help of their great-great aunt who was once a slave. According to one review, “ Valerie Wesley makes the language in Freedom’s Gifts sing.”

If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional textbook, Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem is perfect for kids between the ages of 4 and 8. This beautifully written poem is complemented by colorful illustrations included with each stanza. The style transitions seamlessly from free verse to rhyme and is sure to become a new family favorite.

Get the rest of the recommendations.

Children’s books can show how Black lives matter. Unfortunately, some libraries have banned some books because of potential controversy.

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