The Juneteenth Story and Fun Facts about Juneteenth


Disclosure: I was given a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you know what Juneteenth is? Do you know why it is a holiday? Do you know how it is celebrated or when? Today I am sharing a new book that answers these questions and more. And I'm going to share some fun facts about Juneteenth too. We will start with the fun facts! On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas that the slaves were free by order of the President of the United States. The next year the first Juneteenth was celebrated.

Fun Facts about Juneteenth:

1) Juneteenth is the oldest known holiday that commemorates the end of slavery.

2) Strawberry soda was once a popular drink to celebrate Juneteenth. 

3) Some cities hold Miss Juneteenth Contests.

4) On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the law to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. It is the first holiday to be approved since 1983 when Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established by President Ronald Reagan. 

5) Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas was purchased by former slaves in 1872 to celebrate Juneteenth. 

6) The period after General Granger's announcement was called Scatter since so many of the slaves left Texas. Although the announcement suggested they should stay with their owners and get paid. 

7) Freedom brought many issues. Many of the freed people were beaten, lynched, and murdered. One freedwoman recalls people being shot in the river as they tried to leave. 

8) Not all enslaved people were freed instantly. Since Texas is such a big state the news did not travel quickly. Many owners tried to suppress it and keep their slaves. There are reports of some not being freed until July 1876!

9) Juneteenth has/had many different names like Freedom Day, Jubilee, Cel-libration Day, Emancipation Day, Second Independence Day, and more!

10) Due to segregation and Jim Crow laws, celebrations were hard to have. They waned for a time due to lack of places to hold them. Martin Luther King Jr. planned the Poor People March to coincide with Juneteenth and brought it back to the forefront. 


Now onto our book. The book is The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States by Alliah L. Agostini and illustrated by Sawyer Cloud. The reading age for this book is 6 to 9.

From the Publisher:

With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this introductory history of Juneteenth for kids details the evolution of the holiday commemorating the date the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom​.

On June 19, 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom. That day became a day of remembrance and celebration that changed and grew from year to year.

Learn about the events that led to emancipation and why it took so long for the enslaved people in Texas to hear the news. The first Juneteenth began as “Jubilee Day,” where families celebrated and learned of their new rights as citizens. As Black Texans moved to other parts of the country, they brought their traditions along with them, and Juneteenth continued to grow and develop.

Today, Juneteenth’s powerful spirit has endured through the centuries to become an official holiday in the United States in 2021. The Juneteenth Story provides an accessible introduction for kids to learn about this important American holiday.

From Me:

Now I will admit I had heard of Juneteenth but didn't really know all the history or even the date of it. Without much previous knowledge, I found this book fascinating and very informative. I love how it goes through the history of Juneteenth and shares the struggles as well as the celebration. The book actual begins talking about Independence Day and how slaves did not feel the need or excitement for it since they were not free. Talk about a strong opening. It goes through a bit of the history with abolitionists and even quotes Frederick Douglass. It shares about slavery and emancipation and the history of the Civil War

It shares some facts about the first celebrations as well as when it wanes. It even shares how it spreads across the country. It talks about the resurgence and how in 2020 there were some horrific events that brought Black Lives Matter protests into the spotlight. At the end of the book is a timeline as well as the author's own connection to Juneteenth. 

This book is well written, and the illustrations are wonderful. I love how informative it is and how the pictures truly add to the words. It is a wonderful book for someone wanting to learn more about Juneteenth or for someone to have to share with children to teach about Juneteenth. I hope you will check it out!