Happy (Almost) Juneteenth!! Juneteenth is the nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery. It is on June 19th. The day honors June 19, 1865, which was the day that Union soldiers came to Texas to say that the enslaved were now free, which was several years after the Emancipation Proclamation (history that would also be great to dive into with students using a whole unit!). We should all recognize Juneteenth as a day to learn about its history and reflect on what still needs to be done to undo racism and uplift the Black community.
Even though it is the last week of school, as an educator, I still felt it was important to do something with my class for Juneteenth. In addition, I have been getting many requests from other educators for book recommendations and resources to give to families and students for Juneteenth. Therefore, I have found some diverse books, selected videos, and created a worksheet to help people start to talk about Juneteenth with students all the way from Kindergarten to potentially eight grade.
There are so many more conversations that you should be having with your students and/or kids about slavery, race, racism, and Black history. Like always, this is just ONE of many lessons that should be taught! Make sure you are also teaching about modern racism and how to be advocates and/or allies, so that students don’t just think that racism was “solved” but that we have to continue to fight against racism. Remember: Juneteenth is a day of celebration and reflection.
Diverse Books about Juneteenth
I have found two diverse books about Juneteenth. Both are written by Black authors. This is incredibly important for many reasons. With Conversation Books like these, it is important that we uplift authors from the community to tell their own stories using their #OwnVoices. In addition, we need to support our Black authors because our students need more windows and mirrors in their libraries. Considering buying or borrowing from the library the following two books about Juneteenth:
Juneteenth for Mazie, by Floyd Cooper
The Spectrum for multicultural Lit.: conversation
age Range: 4-9 years old
Floyd Cooper wrote this picture book that explains the basic premise behind Juneteenth. It does not go into depth about slavery, but it does introduce why we celebrate Juneteenth. At the end of Juneteenth for Mazie, Cooper writes about how we have to use this day to celebrate, but also remember. It would be perfect to start conversations around Juneteenth, slavery and freedom, and what still needs to be done in our world.
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom, by Angela Johnson
The Spectrum for multicultural Lit.: conversation
age Range: 5-9 years old
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom is about the first Juneteenth in 1865 through the eyes of a little girl. At the end, the author also includes an author’s note about the history and her connection to it. It also has a timeline of events that can help launch into a deeper conversations or unit.
Videos about Juneteenth
I know we are SO close to Juneteenth and you might not have enough time to purchase a book, so I also found some video links that are perfect for kids. Check out these great YouTube Videos:
- “What is Juneteenth? Watch a Juneteenth Cartoon (Fun Facts about Juneteenth)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2HAVuld0_0&t=4s
- “Watch Cartoons Online – Juneteenth Celebration (Educational Video for Children/Kids)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UqqkSWfZgc
- “The story behind Juneteenth”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es_iDweTEqs&list=PLmSYUYsPBI5vJMsXYdfCIMzgzboL_YMcD
It is great to start off your conversation or lesson with one of the diverse books or videos listed above. However, to really help make sure kids are internalizing the information, I made a worksheet.
The worksheet has students answer two questions: What is Juneteenth? and Why do we celebrate Juneteenth? I designed the worksheet to make it accessible for multiple ages. For example, preschoolers and kindergarteners can use the boxes to draw and try to write words or sentences answering the questions. Older students can use the boxes to write full sentences answering the questions. For fourth grade and older students, you can also ask them to pull out examples from the texts or videos that support their thinking (this aligns to the Common Core State Standards).
If you are teaching via a Distance Learning platform, you can either send the worksheet PDF to families or put this picture on a Word Document or Google Slide with text boxes in the squares for students to write in. If you are teaching your own kiddos, just click the link below and print it out for them.
Download the free juneteenth worksheet here.
More Juneteenth Resources
There are many other great Juneteenth resources. Check out the following websites to learn more and find other teaching resources:
One thought on “Happy Juneteenth: Diverse Books & Teaching Resources”
Hi thhanks for sharing this