Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper (publication date Feb. 2, 2015, ARC provided via Net Galley).
Juneteenth for Mazie introduces the holiday of Juneteenth through the father of young Mazie. Mazie is frustrated by the end of her day and expresses a complaint common to many children, "'I can't go where I want, have what I want, or do what I want.'" Mazie's dad helps her to see her complaints in context by telling her a quick overview of US history, beginning with her Great, Great, Great, Grandpa Mose before the Civil War.
This story deals with a difficult issue and a long history in quick, deft verbal strokes and immaculately-detailed illustrations. This book works well to introduce younger children to the history of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, and it could also be used with older students as a launch pad for deeper discussions.
The book concludes with a brief history of the origins of Juneteenth (in the afterward) as well as a description of some of the common aspects of a Juneteenth celebration (in the end of the story).
The illustrations are what really makes this book memorable. Floyd Cooper's lifelike realism brings a sense of immediacy to the pages and make you want to spend time examining the details. There are so many strong emotions conveyed through the faces, which add to the power of the story.
This book is a treasure, and I think it will serve an important purpose bringing Juneteenth and its history to a broader audience. (As an aside, my spell check does not even recognize Juneteenth.) #WeNeedDiverseBooks