Engaging Books to Commemorate Juneteenth in the Classroom

By Center for Education and Schools
June 2, 2022

Juneteenth is the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. This holiday dates back to June 19, 1865 when Galveston, Texas became the final American city to learn of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

The book list below presents titles to support educators in teaching students the history of this significant holiday which became nationally recognized in 2021. Featuring both fiction and nonfiction, this list provides necessary context and background information on this holiday for students of all ages, and helps them to recognize and acknowledge the horrors of slavery and the experiences of emancipation. 

Educators can consider pairing the titles below with current events articles showcasing how people are observing this holiday around the country, or highlighting historical newspaper articles from the African American Historical Newspapers database available from The New York Public Library. 

The Schomburg Literary Festival on June 18 is also a great opportunity for educators to hear from authors of African descent. Readings, panel discussions, and workshops at the event range from prose to poetry, comic books to young adult novels, fiction and nonfiction. Register here

Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.