Learn more about the history of Juneteenth with these new titles for children from preschool to the early elementary years, and celebrate with your community at one of the many Juneteenth events happening around the Twin Cities.

Icon of three books leaning together above text "The Storygraph"Pro-tip: Track the books you & your children are reading. Download the free app, created and owned by Black female tech entrepreneur Nadia Odunayo.

All titles are available through theDebra S Fish Early Childhood Resource Library, a branch of the.

Children’s Titles

¾ٳcaptivating illustrationsǴ18quick and easy recipes, follow along with little Alliah and her grandparents as they explore the historical origins of the holiday through food. Make, share, and enjoykid-friendly takes on some of the most popular Juneteenth celebration foods.

Keep the celebration going withfive fun and educational activity sectionsthat includecrafting projects,table and field games, on-site or virtual field trips, and dancing to the music of the holiday withAlliah’s Cookout DJ 101 tutorial. These activities are perfectfor families, community groups, or classes and bring elements of the road to emancipation and Juneteenth’s history to life.

(Age Focus: 5 – 8 years)

CELEBRATES BLACK JOY: At its root, this is a story of family and community. Vibrant illustrations capture the warmth and unity of Black families and Black communities in a portrait of beautiful joy.

REMEMBERING A LEGACY: Both a story of celebration and a commemoration of freedom, this book honors a past of struggle, resilience, and triumph. It recognizes Juneteenth not just as a holiday but as a cultural legacy. An author’s note also explains the significance of the color red to Juneteenth—its use as a symbol of African American endurance and the ways Black communities weave the color into modern-day celebrations through food and clothing.

BLACK HISTORY IS AMERICAN HISTORY: Juneteenth marks an undeniable truth of American history and remains a cultural touchstone for many Black Americans, making it important forall Americans to understand. Much needed in this time of growing representation and discussion about equity and social justice, this book is a strong resource for parents and educators seeking to introduce Black history and encourage respectful conversations.

(Age Focus: 4 – 8 years)

On June 19, 1865, the 250,000 enslaved people of Texas learned they were free, ending slavery in the United States. This day was soon to be memorialized with the dedication of a park in Houston. The park was called Emancipation Park, and the day it honored would come to be known as Juneteenth.

In the voice and memory of the park itself—its fields and pools, its protests and cookouts, and, most of all, its people—the 150-year story of Emancipation Park is brought to life. Through lyrical text and vibrant artwork, Tonya Duncan Ellis and Jenin Mohammed have crafted an ode to the struggle, triumph, courage, and joy of Black America—and the promise of a people to remember.

(Age Focus: 4 – 8 years)

David’s family has joined relatives to celebrate the holiday in Galveston, Texas. After the parades, speeches, food, and music, the culminating activity is David’s grandmother’s telling the story of her grandmother Mom Bess and the events that came to be known as Juneteenth. The rumors that freedom was coming for enslaved people finally came true with the arrival of a White soldier on horseback who read the Emancipation Proclamation. Bess, who was 6 at the time, did not understand until her mother explained what freedom meant. The newly freed began to plan what they would do next. Bess’ parents started to work for wages, eventually purchasing land and providing an opportunity for Bess to get an education. The afterword explains that although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to take effect Jan. 1, 1863, enslaved people in Texas did not learn of the change in their status until June 19, 1865. For years some states celebrated the holiday. In June 2021, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday. Armand uses the same meter as Clement C. Moore’s “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” evoking the same anticipation—in this case for freedom.

(Age Focus: 4 – 8 years)

A lyrical picture book about our newest national holiday,Juneteenthfollows the annual celebration in Galveston, Texas—birthplace of Juneteenth—through the eyes of a boy coming to understand his place in Black American history in a story from three Texan creators.

(Age Focus: 4 – 8 years)

Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens celebrates Black history and culture in her unflinching, uplifting, and gorgeously illustrated picture book debut. As an acclaimed musician, singer, songwriter, and cofounder of the traditional African American string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens has long used her art to mine America’s musical past and manifest its future, passionately recovering lost voices and reconstructing a nation’s musical heritage. Written as a song to commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth-which was originally performed with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma-and paired here with bold illustrations by painter Monica Mikai, Build a House tells the moving story of a people who would not be moved and the music that sustained them. Steeped in sorrow and joy, resilience and resolve, turmoil and transcendence, this dramatic debut offers a proud view of history and a vital message for readers of all ages: honor your heritage, express your truth, and let your voice soar, even-or perhaps especially-when your heart is heaviest.

Community Celebrations!

: The Anika Foundation, a non-profit organizationdedicated to empowering community through health, wellness, economic empowerment and civicengagement, has assembled a calendar of some of the biggest Juneteenth events happening around the metro area

: This year’s Juneteenth celebration will feature two music acts (Carolyne Naomi & Smash Jazz), a live reading from a children’s book author (Isaiah Allen’s A Smile), book giveaways (Annette Gordon-Reed’s OnJuneteenth) and a special dessert vendor just for the event.

: Minneapolis Parks & Rec will host a Juneteenth celebration of freedom event on Saturday, June 15 at Bethune Park. Food and activities for every age!

: University of Minnesota hosts their 3rd annual Juneteenth block party on Saturday, June 15! Juneteenth is a celebration of abolition, Black freedom, Black joy, Black history, and Black futures. This year’s event will be centered around disruption, reverberation, and amplification with our 2024 theme: We are the Noise- The Echoes of our Ancestors! This interactive block party includes a commemorative march, live performances, free food, Black vendors, giveaways, art-making, workshops, roller skating, and an interactive kids zone.

: Residents of Color Collective (ROCC) hosts a free event at the beautiful Dodge Nature Center. Attendees will have the opportunity to

  • Shop from BIPOC-owned businesses and make community connections.
  • Learn something new in nature with Dodge naturalists.
  • Get creative with arts & crafts and face painting.
  • Enjoy live music and plenty of green space to move and groove.

: The Minnesota Orchestra presents its second annual concert (06/15) in celebration and commemoration of Juneteenth. Jonathan Taylor Rush will lead a program featuring both upbeat and contemplative music from 20th-century and contemporary African American composers. Jimmie Herrod, Wordsmith and Ashley DuBose will also take the stage, combining their powerful voices with the symphonic strength of the Orchestra.

: Join Juneteenth Minnesota for a Father’s Day brunch and Juneteenth block party!

: The 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration, presented in part by the McKnight Foundation will take place at the prestigious Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. join for a day of celebration, education, and community building.

: The Rondo Center of Diverse Expressions (RCODE) is pleased to announce the 4th Annual Juneteenth Observance at the Rondo Commemorative Plaza from 12:00 to 5:00 pm. Programmed events will take place from 2:00 – 4:30 pm.

This year’s theme is The Music of Rondo: Celebrating the Walker West Music Academy and recognition of the Academy and its founders, Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West. In 1988, Rev. Walker and Mr. West founded the music academy with one rented piano in the upstairs of a duplex. Years later, under their leadership and the current administration, Walker|West has made a difference in the lives of thousands of students. St. Paul Mayors Chris Coleman and Melvin Carter were both students, and the academy’s jazz ensembles are the only youth ensembles to perform on the main stage at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

By Jennie Walker Knoot