Juneteenth books by various authors

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The park shelter has been reserved.

You’ve told everyone where to be and what to bring (Grandma’s favorite dessert!) and someone will set up games to occupy the kids. Your whole family celebrates Juneteenth, so maybe it’s time to bring these two great books to your jubilee…

If you sometimes feel like you’re always the last to know, then read “Galveston’s Juneteenth Story: And Still We Rise” by Tommie Boudreaux, Alice Gatson, Jami Durham and W. Dwayne Jones (The History Press, $24.99). Because sometimes, you are the last.

Some sixty years before the end of the Civil War, Britain and the U.S. both “banned the international trade of enslaved people…” Slavery still existed, of course, and “Galveston [Texas] was known as the largest slave market west of New Orleans…” Roughly a thousand people were enslaved there, and “many more… passed through the city’s slave trading houses.” It’s estimated that “thousands” also tried to escape slavery through Galveston and Brownsville, over the Rio Grande to Mexico.

Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation proclamation on September 22, 1862. The Civil War ended in April 1865. On June 19 of that same year – two months after wars’ end – Black Texans finally learned that they were free. The slaves in Galveston were the last in the country to be notified.

This essential look at the history of Juneteenth goes beyond that historic day to show more of what happened in the immediate aftermath of the posting of General Order No. 3. The authors don’t stop there, though: they take their narrative well into the early 20th century, through Jim Crow laws, and into modern times and today’s celebrations. Complete with lots of illustrations, “Galveston’s Juneteenth Story: And Still We Rise” is a great book to browse and to keep around for reference.

You know your child wants to understand the history of this holiday, too, so look for the new picture book, “Juneteenth Is” by Natasha Tripplett, illustrated by Daniel J. O’Brien (Chronicle Books, $17.99).

The morning has just started. The sun is up and today is the day for Jubilee. Everyone’s heading for the park and a parade with drummers and steppers. They throw candy to everyone along the parade route. There are red, green, and black flags everywhere!

After the festivities at the park, it’s time to get together with family. Juneteenth is a time to “be thankful.” It’s “the ladies singing in the kitchen,” an uncle’s jokes (groan!), basketball in the front driveway, prayer around the table, and “generations of family recipes.” And, of course, Juneteenth is a solemn time to acknowledge “things not taught in school.” That’s the lesson to be learned, and children ages 3 to 8 will love learning it with this book.

If these Juneteenth books aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, be sure to ask your favorite bookseller or librarian. They can put lots of other Juneteenth books for anyone of any age, directly in your hands. Ask for help, or be sure to put these two great books on reserve soon.