Celebrate Juneteenth with the Washington Mystics

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Celebrate Juneteenth with the Washington Mystics

Learn about the history of Juneteenth as a family with these great books for children.

In 2021, Juneteenth became the nation's newest federal holiday. A celebration that originated in Galveston, TX, the date recognizes the June 19, 1865 announcement that freed enslaved people in Texas which was the last state with institutional slavery. This summer as a part of Discover Summer, DC Public Library is teaming up with the Washington Mystics to recommend great titles that you can read as a family to better understand the history of Juneteenth and learn about and participate in some of the rich traditions of the celebration.

What is Juneteenth?, Written by Kirsti Jewel, Illustrated by Manuel Guiterrez
On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved men, women, and children in Texas gathered around a Union soldier 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

Juneteenth for Mazie, Written and Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
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.

Juneteenth, Written By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Drew Nelson, Illustrated by Mark Schroder
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.

All Different Now: Juneteenth, The First Day of Freedom, Written by Angela Johnson, Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
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.

Juneteenth Jamboree, Written by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan
It's a fine day in June. Cassandra's family has just moved from the city back to her parents' hometown in Texas. Cassie likes her new house, and her new school is okay, but Texas doesn't quite feel like home yet. What Cassie doesn't know is that her family has a surprise for her — a Texas tradition. As she helps prepare red velvet cake, fried chicken, and piles of other dishes, she wonders what makes June 19th so important. It isn't until Cassie and her family arrive downtown that she discovers what the commotion is about. And, in the process, she realizes that she and her family have indeed come home.

Want to find more great reads? The Washington Mystics invite you to join them to Discover Summer! Learn more and sign up for Discover Summer today.