HarperCollins/Versify. May 2023. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780358574323.
PreS-Gr 3–This story follows a young boy who journeys to Galveston, TX, to celebrate Juneteenth for the first time. His parents have packed the car and made sandwiches as if preparing for any other parade. But as the boy and his family set up their place to watch, the parade becomes an experience like no other. First, it’s the music; then, the realization that the people on the floats look like him. The smells of familiar food only reinforce that this parade is special. Sure, there are many familiar sights, such as a queen and the tossing of candy and beads, but this parade celebrates so much more. As his mom explains, it is a celebration of history, of overcoming struggle and abuse, of pride and hope. In a joyful climax, as fireworks explode over the ocean, voices chorus, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Readers will experience the Juneteenth celebration simultaneously with the young boy as an unfolding of the senses—sights, sounds, and scents of a parade—with the added enlightenment of the important history and significance of the celebration. Pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations highlight the colorfulness while adding detail to the many sights and faces of the people in the street dancing, cheering, and reveling in the fun. Particularly poignant are the images of historical figures who endured and triumphed over slavery, highlighted as the fireworks begin.
VERDICT A memorable introduction to the richness of Juneteenth as well as to the significance of the celebration to the African American community. A perfect read-aloud and an excellent platform for discussing African American history.

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