All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

Is it Friday already? The days seem to fly by! The good thing is that it’s time for a Perfect Picture Book review and craft activity. Susanna Hill’s blog is the place to go to find a whole bunch of other Perfect Picture Book Friday entries.

Today’s Perfect Picture Book is a perfect book to read as we celebrate Martin Luther King Day on January 19th.

all different now

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

Written by Angela Johnson

Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2014)

Ages: 5-9

Themes: First day of freedom, slavery, family togetherness


Opening Lines:

“A June morning breeze off the port blew the smell of honeysuckle past the fields, across the yard, and into our room to wake us. And nobody knew as we ate a little, talked a little, and headed to the fields as the sun was rising, that soon it would be all different.”


From Amazon:

“Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.”

Why I like this book:

  • Lyrical language engages the reader and listener from the very first word
  • Illustrations are filled with emotion and light
  • You feel you are right there with the slaves, in their cottages and in the fields
  • Author and illustrator notes and a timeline and glossary give important background information


How a parent can use this book:

  • This is a perfect picture book to help give young kids a small window into the life of a slave at that important moment in history
  • Launching pad to talk about what being free really means – take note of the last illustration where the entire family is packed up to leave – freedom doesn’t mean you can do anything you want – it means making decisions about your future



Related Activity:



You will need: Red, blue and white construction paper (the white can be a piece of copy paper), scissors, and paste.

  1. Fold red paper in half and cut on fold.
  2. Paste it on the bottom half of the blue paper.
  3. Cut out a star and a thin zig-zaggy larger star-like shape.
  4. Paste in place.

There are fabulous lessons plans and activities on various internet sites:

Martin Luther King was all about freedom and equality. On Monday, January 19, we celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Here are some resources:



As I mentioned, time really is flying by and I’m already thinking about the next edition of my newsletter – if you’ve subscribed, you’ll receive it right before Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do: and grab the free Anti-Bullying Toolkit Guide for Kids. In addition, I’ll enter you in the drawing for a copy of my parent-teacher resource, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cookingthis is the actual 256pp print copy, not an ebook or Kindle version.


It’s filled with themed easy-peasy craft projects and child-friendly recipes, plus 100 picture book summaries and tips on building self-esteem in kids.




15 thoughts on “All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

    • You are so welcome, Rhythm! It’s a wonderful book…I love it more and more each time I read it. Kristen Fulton is doing ’52 weeks of charting non-fiction’ over at her blog every Sunday…this was last week’s choice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for sharing this one, Vivian! I will look for it. It’s hard to talk about slavery and this looks like a good starting point.


    • That is true, Carrie…there are some topics that are just so difficult to approach with young kids. This book is gentle and powerful at the same time…and it captures the joy of the event. I love Henry’s Freedom Box…but that one is somewhat more disturbing for very young kids.


  2. I keep seeing this book pop up in reviews. I need to get a copy and read it. My kind of story. I must admit until the book came out I didn’t know their was a celebratory day June 19th. Excellent review.


    • I didn’t know either, Pat. My American history was learned a long time ago, before educators thought it was important for kids to get the whole story. 🙂 Good thing there are wonderful picture books like this one to help us. 🙂 Glad you liked the review…it’s a beautiful book!

      Liked by 1 person

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