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All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom Hardcover – Picture Book, May 6, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 317 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3 Up—Previous picture books about Juneteenth (the holiday celebrating the day slaves were freed in Texas—two years after the rest of the country) have focused on contemporary children discovering this quirk of history. Valerie Wesley's Freedom's Gifts (S. & S., 1997) and Carole Boston Weatherford's Juneteenth Jamboree (Lee & Low, 1995) fall into that category. Johnson imagines what it would be like to be a slave one minute and a free person the next. Spare text, structured as free verse, hones in on the smell of honeysuckle and breakfast routines as the day begins, like any other. The titular phrase appears three times: first to build suspense, then to indicate the earthshaking import of the message spreading from the port, and, finally, to reflect on the consequences. Lewis paints details not mentioned. The protagonist is a girl living in the slave quarters with her siblings and mother. They are working in the cotton fields when the news arrives. Skillful watercolor renderings depict nuanced changes in lighting and focus, thereby capturing individual responses to a community's new reality—from incredulity and quiet contemplation to rapture. Occasional panels indicate passing time; the brilliant clarity of the fields at noon fades to a green-blue gauze over the revelers heading home from a late-night celebration. A time line, glossary, overview, list of websites, and notes by author and illustrator provide deeper understanding. With a narrative notable for its understated simplicity and lack of judgment, this title allows readers to draw their own conclusions. An affecting entrée to a challenging conversation.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

From Booklist

On June 19, 1865, a young slave girl and her family go about their daily routine, unaware that their lives are about to change. They wake to the smell of honeysuckle before they get ready to work all day in the hot fields of Texas. Before long, word spreads even to them: “We were all / now and forever free / and things / would be / all different now.” Thus begin the celebrations that will be commemorated as Juneteenth, the day Texas slaves finally learned about their rights as freed people, a full two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Rich, subdued watercolors convey the celebrations with dignity and awe. Each page shows the slaves as a collective people, finally seeing a brighter future within reach. Johnson’s attached verse enables younger readers to see the momentous nature of this date, while back matter appropriate for older readers provides a time line and other important factual references. A worthy addition to any collection on the topic. Grades 1-3. --Courtney Jones
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 6, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 068987376X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0689873768
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 - 9 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ AD830L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Kindergarten - 4
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 11 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 317 ratings

About the author

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Angela Johnson is the author of the Coretta Scott King Honor picture book When I Am Old with You; as well as A Sweet Smell of Roses, illustrated by Eric Velasquez; Just Like Josh Gibson, illustrated by Beth Peck; and I Dream of Trains, which was also illustrated by Loren Long. She has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels Heaven, Toning the Sweep, and The First Part Last. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Kent, Ohio.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
317 global ratings

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