We’re all familiar with the Fourth of July, a holiday dedicated to celebrating independence—but how much do you know about Juneteenth? Also known as Freedom Day, Juneteeth takes place on June 19th every year to commemorate June 19, 1865, when federal orders read in Galveston, Texas stated that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. This was an important day in history and the fight to end American slavery. It should be recognized in our classrooms and is honored across the country with cookouts, parades, heartfelt reunions, and so much more. Below are 17 ideas for teaching Juneteenth to kids.
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Books About Juneteenth
1. Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty, freedom, and a great day in American history.
2. All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson
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.
3. Juneteenth (On My Own Holidays) by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson & Drew Nelson
June 19th, 1865, began as another hot day in Texas. Follow African American slaves as they receive the message that slavery has ended!
4. The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure by Steven Otfinoski
This YOU CHOOSE book offers multiple perspectives on the history surrounding the story of Juneteenth.
5. Sophie and Lelah Celebrate Juneteenth by L. Monique Gonzales
Sophie and Lelah are first cousins and best friends that embark upon a journey of self-discovery after one of the girls suffers a minor injury at their family reunion. As a result, they learn about Juneteenth and discover the importance of family.
6. Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford
Follow Cassandra and her family as they move to Texas. It doesn’t quite feel like home until her family throws a surprise for her! A Texas tradition.
Many people ask, “What is Juneteenth?” Learn about the African American celebration with this cartoon that explores fun facts about Juneteenth and why it is celebrated around the United States of America.
On this Juneteenth for Kids episode, Franky and Bernard are not getting along. Ms. Meetry takes them for a lesson on how African Americans celebrate the end of slavery on July 19th with Juneteenth.
Part of the PBS Kids’ “All About Holidays” series, this educational video introduces kids to Juneteenth.
For many Black Americans, Juneteenth marks an important official holiday in almost all 50 states. But, what is Juneteenth? And why do many Black Americans refer to this day as a “second Independence Day”?
Have you heard of Juneteenth? It’s a holiday you might not know about but, in light of recent events, its history is more relevant than ever.
Teaching Resources for Juneteenth
The story of Juneteenth acknowledges hard history while also empowering students to be advocates for change. This guide and learning plan will help teachers feel more prepared to cover this incredibly important chapter in American history.
Word searches, scavenger hunts, posters, and everything in between. This is a great place to start if you’re looking for Juneteenth activities for your classroom.
Designed for grades 3-5, students will explore these essential questions: What clues help me know when and how people are being treated unfairly? How is my life easier or more difficult based on who I am and where I was born?
Intended for students in grades 3-5, you’ll explore questions such as: How can I describe and compare my group identities with those of other people? Can words about identity hurt people? How can I ask people about their lives and experiences in a respectful, kind, and understanding way?
Appropriate for grades 6-8, this learning plan includes the essential questions: What makes us who we are? How are our identities today shaped by society? What does it feel like to be belittled or criticized because of your identity? How do different parts of our identities combine to make us who we are? What is the difference between feeling proud and feeling superior?
Over the years, Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, has become a time for family and community-oriented local celebrations. But many are still searching for ways to establish rituals and traditions that acknowledge one of the most important historical events in our young country’s past. This resource offers suggestions for a few ways to bring Juneteenth to your school.
Do you have other ideas for teaching Juneteenth? Share in the comments below.