The Fourth of July is widely known as a holiday dedicated to celebrating independence, but many people also celebrate Freedom Day—Juneteenth. Juneteenth takes place annually on June 19 to commemorate the day in 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 for the fight to end American slavery, and it is honored across the country with cookouts, parades, heartfelt reunions, and so much more. Below are 17 ideas for teaching Juneteenth to kids.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
Books About Juneteenth
1. Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty, freedom, and a great day in American history.
Buy it: Juneteenth for Mazie on Amazon
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, which is the day’s freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South.
Buy it: All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom on Amazon
3. Juneteenth (On My Own Holidays) by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Drew Nelson
June 19, 1865, began as just another hot day in Texas. Follow this story of African American slaves as they receive the message that slavery has ended.
Buy it: Juneteenth (On My Own Holidays) on Amazon
4. The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure by Steven Otfinoski
THIS YOU CHOOSE book tells the story of Juneteenth while also offering multiple perspectives on the history surrounding it.
Buy it: The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure on Amazon
5. Sophie and Lelah Celebrate Juneteenth by L. Monique Gonzales
Sophie and Lelah are first cousins and best friends. One of them unfortunately suffers a minor injury at their family reunion. Following that, the girls embark upon a journey of self-discovery. As a result, they learn about Juneteenth and discover the importance of family.
Buy it: Sophie and Lelah Celebrate Juneteenth on Amazon
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 party! A Texas tradition.
Buy it: Juneteenth Jamboree on Amazon
7. What Is Juneteenth?
Many people ask, “What is Juneteenth?” Learn about the African American celebration with this cartoon that explores fun facts about Juneteenth as well as why it is celebrated around the United States of America.
Watch it: What Is Juneteenth? on YouTube
8. Juneteenth Celebration
On this Juneteenth for Kids episode, Franky and Bernard are not getting along. Then Ms. Meetry takes them for a lesson on how African Americans celebrate the end of slavery on June 19, also known as Juneteenth.
Watch it: Juneteenth Celebration on YouTube
9. Juneteenth by PBS Kids
Part of the PBS Kids “All About Holidays” series, this educational video introduces kids to Juneteenth.
Watch it: Juneteenth by PBS Kids on YouTube
10. The Meaning Behind Juneteenth
For many Black Americans, Juneteenth marks an important official holiday in almost all 50 states. But what is Juneteenth? Also, why do many Black Americans refer to this day as a “Second Independence Day”?
Watch it: The Meaning Behind Juneteenth on YouTube
11. Why Is Juneteenth Such an Important Holiday?
Juneteenth is a holiday you might not know about, but in light of recent events in the United States, its history is more relevant than ever.
Watch it: Why Is Juneteenth Such an Important Holiday? on YouTube
Educational Resources for Juneteenth
12. Teaching 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.
Learn more: Teaching Juneteenth on Learning for Justice
13. Juneteenth Activities on TPT
A great resource for all grade levels, you’ll find resources such as 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.
Learn more: Juneteenth Activities on TPT
14. Juneteenth Lesson on Fairness
Designed for grades 3 to 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 because of who I am and where I was born?
Learn more: Juneteenth Lesson on Fairness on Learning for Justice
15. Juneteenth Lesson on Identity
Intended for students in grades 3 to 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?
Learn more: Juneteenth Lesson on Identity on Learning for Justice
16. Juneteenth: Teaching Culture as Resistance
Appropriate for grades 6 to 8, this learning plan includes such essential questions as:
- 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?
Learn more: Juneteenth: Teaching Culture as Resistance on Learning for Justice
17. Four Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth with Students
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.
Learn more: Four Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth With Students on Edutopia