Home » Meaningful Ways To Teach And Celebrate Juneteenth With Your Kids + Kids Book List

Meaningful Ways To Teach And Celebrate Juneteenth With Your Kids + Kids Book List

by The Mom Trotter

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It wasn’t until I was in college that I learned about Juneteenth and the reason behind why it was celebrated. How is it possible that I went through grade school without ever knowing about it, and nobody teaching me about it?

Truthfully, this is one of the reasons I decided to homeschool my son. I wanted to make sure that he learned Black History and learned the truth about it. I didn’t want Black History Month to be only time he ever learned anything valuable about being Black.

You are reading this because you are curious about Juneteenth and want to learn about it so that you too can teach your kids. Yay! Because that’s the first step.

What is Juneteenth?

Also known as Freedom Day and Black Independence Day, Juneteenth, is the day when the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln was read on June 19th 1865 to enslaved African Americans in Texas.

Do note that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1st 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln and declared that all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states are, and henceforward shall be free.”

However, this this did not free all the slaves in the United states. As you can see, it only freed slaves who lived in states that weren’t under Union control. It wasn’t until June 19th 1865, nearly 2 years and 6 months later that the federal order given by President Abraham Lincoln was read to African Americans in Texas.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.

This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.

The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865

A lot people knew about the emancipation, both Black and White people, unfortunately the slave owners had the power and made no effort to free their slaves until they were forced to.

A celebration of Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, in Texas on June 19, 1900. (Image credit: Mrs. Charles Stephenson (Grace Murray), The Portal to Texas History Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

Juneteenth Books For Kids

Read a book about Juneeteenth with your kids. Books are such an easy way to start the conversation with kids, and these books below will help do just that.

Books For Young Readers

1. Juneteenth

This Juneeteenth book describes how the holiday of Juneteenth began and discusses its traditions, symbols, how the holiday has changed and how it is observed today.

2. Juneteenth For Mazie

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.

3. Freedoms Gifts

With the help of their elderly Aunt Marshall, June and her cousin Lillie celebrate Juneteenth, the day Texas slaves found out they had been freed, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

4. Juneteenth Jamboree

With its lively text and warm illustrations, Juneteenth Jamboree provides a useful opportunity to introduce children to a holiday they may know less about, and to talk about why it took more than two years for the Emancipation Proclamation to be enforced in Texas.

5. All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

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.

Chapter Books / Teens

1. The Story of Juneteenth – An Interactive History Adventure (Ages 9-12)

The Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War have brought an official end to slavery, yet some Southern slave owners are refusing to comply. The road to freedom is still long and hard for many African Americans, but you’re not giving up.

Will you: Overcome obstacles as you make your way north from Texas, looking to begin a new life of freedom? Seek out your family, from whom you were separated as a child, after emancipation? Fight back when you take work as an apprentice but find that you’re still treated as a slave?

You Choose – offers multiple perspectives on history, supporting Common Core reading standards and providing readers a front-row seat to the past.

2. Come Juneteenth (Ages 12 +)

Sis Goose is a beloved member of Luli’s family, despite the fact that she was born a slave. But the family is harboring a terrible secret. And when Union soldiers arrive on their Texas plantation to announce that slaves have been declared free for nearly two years, Sis Goose is horrified to learn that the people she called family have lied to her for so long. She runs away, but her newly found freedom has tragic consequences.

3. Tiny’s Emancipation (The Young Texans Series)

Tiny Mason has nothing of her own, even her last name belongs to her master. In June of 1865, the Texas slaves hear rumors the war is over and they will soon be free. Tiny, impatient for freedom, sneaks away from the Mason Plantation in the back of a wagon bound for Galveston.

In that port city, she hears Major General Granger read the proclamation announcing the slaves are free. Tiny joins the spontaneous celebration of her release from slavery, but her former owner tries to prevent the young girl from living a free life. The Young Texans Series spotlights origin of Juneteenth.

4. Let’s Celebrate Emancipation Day & Juneteenth

In the 1800s, abolitionists like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Sojourner Truth fought for freedom from slavery for all African Americans. They fought with speeches, songs, newspapers, and even with daring rescue missions! Every year on both Emancipation Day and Juneteenth we honor and continue their fight for freedom and equality.

Holidays & Heroes brings to life the people whose holidays we celebrate throughout the year. Enriched with colorful historical images, books in this series will engage children in the stories behind our holidays and the people they honor.

Juneeteenth Videos For Kids

Watch a video about Juneeteenth with your kids. Sometimes, a video is the best resource to teach kids about Juneteenth, especially if your kids are visual learners.

1. Juneteenth Celebration Cartoon

2. Juneteenth by PBS Kids

3. What Is Juneteenth

4. Juneteenth for Mazie

5. What Is Juneeteenth?

6. Juneteenth Celebration

7. The Meaning Behind Juneteenth

8. Why Is Juneeteenth Such An Important Holiday

Celebrate Through Food

For enslaved people, red foods was a symbol of resilience and is now often a staple at Juneeteenth celebrations. Things like strawberries, cherry pie, sausages, watermelon, hot dogs, red velvet cake and more. These are just a few of the foods commonly found during Juneteenth celebrations.

If you don’t want to barbecue or you can’t, soul food is another good options. You can cook foods like collard greens, mac & cheese, fried okra, gumbo, corn bread etc. I think you’ll enjoy this video below of when the kids and I made a whole soul food spread. It was sooo good!

Celebrate In Person Or Virtually

You’ll be surprised to find out that Juneteenth is celebrated in many different cities around the US. And if you search Google, you’ll definitely be able to find one close to you.

Due to the virus, most Juneeteenth celebrations this year will be virtual. Looking to celebrate virtually with you family, then check out this and find a celebration to attend – Celebrating Juneeteenth Virtually (2020 Dates).

using YouTube to supplement homeschool curriculum

Resources For Teaching Kids About Juneeteenth

There are so many resources for teaching kids about Juneteenth, especially based on the ages of your kids. These links offer different perspectives and teaching methods.

Attend A Protest

Find a family friendly protest to attend with your kids. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then organize a protest right on your own home. Make signs with your kids.

It is important to teach kids at a young age that they need to stand up for what is right. I helped facilitate this discussion by reading the book “Let The Children March” with my 7 year old prior to taking him to a protest.

Support A Black Owned Business

“Voting with your pocketbook is one of the best ways to effect change in a capitalist society.”

Forbes

As we all know there is a huge racial wealth gap in our economic system. By buying Black, you are able to apply your purchasing power to Black families and strengthen local Black economies.

This will have long lasting effects such as hold big business accountable for diversity as well as foster more job creation for Black people. Buying Black goes a long way, so make sure to seek out a Black owned business and purchase something. Make sure to also explain to your children why this is important.

You can support Black business by:

  • Eating at Black owned restaurant
  • Shopping online and buying from a Black owned shop
  • Taking your kids / yourself to a Black owned nail salon or barber
  • Referring a Black owned business to a friend/family who needs one
  • Using services like lawn care, cleaning, painting, general contractors etc owned and run by a Black person
  • And this one that gets missed a lot, sharing a blog post, article, Instagram post or even Facebook post written by a Black blogger goes a long way – YES! Black Bloggers like ME are Black owned business too! 😊. So please make sure to share this post when you’re done reading. Supporting a Black Blogger doesn’t cost anything.
Sleeping caps from Aveebelle Designs (Black owned business)

Other Resources

Hope these ideas help you celebrate and have an enjoyable Juneteenth with your family. For more resources on celebrating Black History see my other posts below:

The Importance Of Learning Through Play And How To Encourage It

Homeschooling – Tips & Tricks

Thinking About Homeschooling – Where To Start

Where To Shop For Homeschooling Supplies

Homeschool Resources

Visit my Homeschool Resources page to see all the reliable and trustworthy brands that we use for our homeschooling journey.

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