Children’s Nonfiction and Historical Fiction for Juneteenth

Juneteenth, declared a federal holiday in 2021, has long been celebrated by African American communities. Why June 19th? Juneteenth celebrates the day (June 19, 1865) that General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery—almost three years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth reminds us that the road to freedom is long, messy and ongoing. Moments of rest, joy and celebration, such as Juneteenth, may be both opportunities to reflect on the freedoms achieved and to acknowledge that the work for freedom and justice continues. 

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Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem

A free verse poem that traces the solemnity and celebration of Juneteenth from its 1865 origins in Galveston, Texas, to contemporary observances all over the United States.

The Juneteenth Story

The first Juneteenth began as “Jubilee Day,” where families celebrated and learned of their new rights as citizens. Today, Juneteenth’s powerful spirit has endured through the centuries to become an official holiday in the United States in 2021. With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this book provides an accessible introduction for kids to learn about this important American holiday. This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby or as an eBook on Hoopla.

Opal Lee and What It Means To Be Free

The true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone will inspire children to be brave and make a difference. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that most Americans had never heard of the holiday that represents the nation’s creed of freedom for all. This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Hoopla.

Build a House

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.


After fleeing the plantation where they were enslaved, siblings Ada and Homer discover the secret community of Freewater, and work with freeborn Sanzi to protect their new home from the encroaching dangers of the outside world. This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby or as eAudio on Overdrive/Libby.