Juneteenth for Mazie

illus. by Floyd Cooper. 40p. Capstone. Feb. 2015. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781623701703; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9781479558193.
K-Gr 3—June 19, 2015 will mark the 150th anniversary of the day the Emancipation Proclamation made it to Texas (two years after the rest of the country heard it). This title offers context for that occasion, hailed as "Juneteenth." Cooper's signature oil wash and eraser technique elevates the presentation beyond the purely instructional. Like some of his predecessors who told this story (Valerie Wesley, Carol Boston Weatherford, etc.), this author frames the history of freedom in Texas with a present-day family's commemoration. Mazie is a young African American who bristles at age-related limits, such as cookie consumption and bedtime. Her father mentions that she will have a chance to celebrate tomorrow; explaining that her restrictions aren't so terrible, he says: "Well, Great, Great, Great Grandpa Mose heard 'no' even more." As he narrates, listeners see the profile of a boy in an endless cotton field, a man and woman running toward the North Star, the proclamation being read from a Texan balcony. Mazie's father covers ensuing civil rights' milestones, declaring, "Black people still struggled to stand shoulder to shoulder with White people." Cooper depicts the Selma to Montgomery March, a schoolroom, a church, and the rear view of a historic inauguration, making this a useful title for a bird's-eye perspective of the subject. For a treatment that focuses solely on that long ago day in Texas and imagines what the impact of the announcement would be on one slave family, see Angela Johnson's All Different Now (S. & S., 2014).—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
"It's your turn to celebrate...and to remember." Dad tells Mazie about the history and significance of Juneteenth, from the jubilation after emancipation through civil rights struggles of the last century. Cooper's accessible text covers the subject broadly and lyrically; his warm illustrations have a dreamlike quality and effectively tie past and present together. A brief author's note provides a few details.

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