The Night Before Freedom: A Juneteenth Story

Crown. May 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593567463.
K-Gr 5–In this story of a family’s annual Juneteenth celebration, the matriarch recounts how her grandmother, Mom Bess, told the story of how she (at six years old) and her parents welcomed freedom on the first Juneteenth in 1865. David’s family is celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston, TX, with their relatives. The festivities, which include parades, speeches, food, and music, honor the day when enslaved people in Galveston finally learned of their freedom in 1865, two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. An ode to Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas,” this story is written in the same meter as the well-known poem. Armand’s use of rhyme and rhythm throughout the book is reminiscent of nursery rhymes, in a way that makes the history digestible for young readers. The vibrant artwork depicts David’s ancestors and people in their community marching, dancing, praising, and singing as word of their newfound freedom spread. Colors are bright, warm, lively, flowy, soft, and blended. The faces have definition, the pages have texture, and the people seem to really move in each illustration.
VERDICT Appropriate for elementary school libraries, and would also be an asset in a classroom library or as part of an elementary school lesson for kindergarten to fifth grade students.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing