Books to Celebrate Juneteenth

Graphic with all book covers and the words "Books to Celebrate Juneteenth" in front of a purple background with colorful balloons.

Juneteenth is a nationally recognized holiday commemorating the end of enslavement in the United States. Celebrate Black history and Black joy with books. Share these titles with readers of all ages on June 19 and throughout the year!

Picture Books

Juneteenth Jamboree

By Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan

“Weatherford does an excellent job of explaining what this holiday is, and what it means to African Americans. . . A wonderful way to introduce this unique holidays.” —School Library Journal

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

By Kelly J. Baptist
Illustrated by Darnell Johnson

“Closing with an afterword by Freelon himself, this book will inspire children who have trouble reading, like Phil, and those who aspire to have careers as artists and architects. Both an inspiration and an excellent companion for a trip to the museum its subject designed.” —Kirkus Reviews

The Electric Slide and Kai

By Kelly J. Baptist
Illustrated by Darnell Johnson

⭐ “The underlying messages of familial closeness and perseverance serve as a foundation for the humor of the story. . . An all-around wonderful book that will inspire laughter and perhaps even a little dancing.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Fresh Juice

Written and illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo

⭐ “The found ingredients tie in with the storyline of community and an appreciation of various cultures. . . This essential story conveys the warmth of community in just one serving.” —School Library Journal, starred review

How We Can Live: Principles of Black Lives Matter

By Laleña Garcia
Illustrated by Caryn Davidson

⭐ “Exceptionally well-written, it offers many opportunities to further the discussion of BLM from the angle of the hope that guides the movement. An important message for all young people, this is approachable but profound in its message, and a welcome addition to any elementary library.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Magic Like That

By Samara Cole Doyon
Illustrated by Geneva Bowers

⭐ “Haitian American author Doyon creates an affirming story, enhanced by Black illustrator Bowers’ use of bright colors, lots of bold, face-front images, and beautiful natural settings to positively portray dark skin, African physical features, and highly textured hair.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Marvelous Mabel: Figure Skating Superstar showing Mabel leaping through the air on ice skates

Marvelous Mabel: Figure Skating Superstar

By Crystal Hubbard
Illustrated by Alleanna Harris

“Every twist and turn is captured and the movement is dynamic in this book; a pleasure to read and to share. Highly recommended for early nonfiction collections.” —School Library Journal

Cover of Miles of Style showing Eunice W. Johnson standing in front of a clothing rack

Miles of Style: Eunice W. Johnson and the EBONY Fashion Fair

By Lisa D. Brathwaite
Illustrated by Lynn Gaines

“Eunice’s patience and perseverance shine in her determination to change the face of fashion, even when racism did its best to stymie her. Gaines fills the pages from top to bottom with color, pattern, and texture—well suited to the topic at hand.” —Booklist

Cover of Stacey Abrams: Lift Every Voice showing Stacey in the foreground and people heading to the poles in the back

Stacey Abrams: Lift Every Voice

By Sarah Warren
Illustrated by Monica Mikai

“A comprehensive, inspiring biography of a leader whose moral compass guides her work. . . An important, uplifting biography with historical and contemporary significance.” —Kirkus Reviews

Books for Older Readers

Black Was the Ink

By Michelle Coles
Illustrated by Justin Johnson

⭐ “Teens will immediately connect with Malcom’s journey and readily identify the real-life issues involving systematic oppression, social justice, and racism that Coles poignantly examines. A powerful story.” —Booklist, starred review

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream

By Glenda Armand
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

⭐ “Cooper’s signature oil wash illustrations, created with kneaded eraser, beautifully capture the period and subjects’ emotions. . . Use this handsome, inspiring offering to enrich units on Shakespeare, theater, or Black history.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Montgomery and the Case of the Golden Key

By Tracy Occomy Crowder

“This endearing middle grade debut by Crowder, set in 2008 on the South Side of Chicago, is an ode to community engagement. . . Crowder employs Monty’s inquisitive and irrepressible first-person narration to rousing effect, making for a spirited novel that encourages curiosity while highlighting a protagonist alongside the neighborhood and history fueling his personal growth.” —Publishers Weekly


By Nisi Shawl

⭐ “Readers see the importance of oral storytelling: The book celebrates it as a shining beacon for those of us who still have elders who can tell stories while offering space to mourn traditions and loved ones we’ve lost.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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