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The Night Before Freedom

A Juneteenth Story

Illustrated by Corey Barksdale
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Hardcover
$18.99 US
9.38"W x 11.25"H x 0.41"D   | 16 oz | 24 per carton
On sale May 02, 2023 | 40 Pages | 978-0-593-56746-3
Age 4-8 years | Preschool - 3
Reading Level: Lexile AD690L | Fountas & Pinnell R
This moving picture book tells the story of Juneteenth with all the care and reverence such a holiday deserves. The rhyming text and stunning illustrations will teach children about this historic day in history.

'Twas the night before freedom, and all through the South,
long-whispered rumors had, spread word of mouth.
"It’s coming! It’s coming!" I heard people say.
"Emancipation is coming our way."

Eight-year-old David and his family gather at Grandma’s house in Galveston, Texas, for a cherished family tradition: Grandma’s annual retelling of the story of Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln meant that all enslaved persons within the rebellious states would be free as of January 1, 1863. However, people in Texas did not receive the news of their emancipation until two and a half years later—on June 19, 1865. 

Grandma tells the story of anticipation, emancipation, and jubilation just as it was told to her many years before by her own grandmother, Mom Bess. As a six-year-old, Bess had experienced the very first Juneteenth. Before that day, she could only imagine what liberty would look like. But once freedom arrived, would it live up to a little girl’s dreams?

The story is written in the same meter as Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas, making it a perfect book for parents and kids to read together.
"A jubilant combination of verse and illustration that captures this momentous historical event." —Kirkus Reviews

"Armand’s use of rhyme and rhythm throughout the book is reminiscent of nursery rhymes....Colors are bright, warm, lively, flowy, soft, and blended." —School Library Journal

"A sense of joy and movement pervades every spread." —Booklist

"Historically insightful." —Publishers Weekly

"With beautiful pictures and text written in the same meter as the classic The Night Before Christmas, families will love reading and learning about this important day in Black history together." —The Root
GLENDA ARMAND has had a long career as a teacher and school librarian and enjoys writing picture-book biographies that inspire children to dream big. Glenda is the author of the award-winning Love Twelve Miles Long, Ira’s Shakespeare Dream, and Song in a Rainstorm: The Story of Musical Prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins. Her picture book Black-Eyed Peas and Hoghead Cheese will be published by Crown Books for Young Readers in Fall 2022. When not writing or practicing the piano, Glenda tends a garden full of succulents and roses. She lives in Los Angeles, and you can learn more about her at glenda-armand.com.

JAN GERARDI is the illustrator of over eighty books for children. She is also the author-illustrator of The Little Gardener, an eco-friendly board book in the Teenie Greenies series. Jan Gerardi lives in New Jersey. View titles by Glenda Armand

About

This moving picture book tells the story of Juneteenth with all the care and reverence such a holiday deserves. The rhyming text and stunning illustrations will teach children about this historic day in history.

'Twas the night before freedom, and all through the South,
long-whispered rumors had, spread word of mouth.
"It’s coming! It’s coming!" I heard people say.
"Emancipation is coming our way."

Eight-year-old David and his family gather at Grandma’s house in Galveston, Texas, for a cherished family tradition: Grandma’s annual retelling of the story of Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln meant that all enslaved persons within the rebellious states would be free as of January 1, 1863. However, people in Texas did not receive the news of their emancipation until two and a half years later—on June 19, 1865. 

Grandma tells the story of anticipation, emancipation, and jubilation just as it was told to her many years before by her own grandmother, Mom Bess. As a six-year-old, Bess had experienced the very first Juneteenth. Before that day, she could only imagine what liberty would look like. But once freedom arrived, would it live up to a little girl’s dreams?

The story is written in the same meter as Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas, making it a perfect book for parents and kids to read together.

Praise

"A jubilant combination of verse and illustration that captures this momentous historical event." —Kirkus Reviews

"Armand’s use of rhyme and rhythm throughout the book is reminiscent of nursery rhymes....Colors are bright, warm, lively, flowy, soft, and blended." —School Library Journal

"A sense of joy and movement pervades every spread." —Booklist

"Historically insightful." —Publishers Weekly

"With beautiful pictures and text written in the same meter as the classic The Night Before Christmas, families will love reading and learning about this important day in Black history together." —The Root

Author

GLENDA ARMAND has had a long career as a teacher and school librarian and enjoys writing picture-book biographies that inspire children to dream big. Glenda is the author of the award-winning Love Twelve Miles Long, Ira’s Shakespeare Dream, and Song in a Rainstorm: The Story of Musical Prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins. Her picture book Black-Eyed Peas and Hoghead Cheese will be published by Crown Books for Young Readers in Fall 2022. When not writing or practicing the piano, Glenda tends a garden full of succulents and roses. She lives in Los Angeles, and you can learn more about her at glenda-armand.com.

JAN GERARDI is the illustrator of over eighty books for children. She is also the author-illustrator of The Little Gardener, an eco-friendly board book in the Teenie Greenies series. Jan Gerardi lives in New Jersey. View titles by Glenda Armand

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