Perfect Picture Book Friday: OPAL LEE – And What It Means to be Free Plus Giveaway

Hello dear friends! Welcome back to the first Perfect Picture Book Friday of 2022. Today’s book is a celebration of activist Opal Lee who advocated for the recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday. And thanks to the generosity of the author and her publisher, there will be a giveaway – please make sure to leave a comment and spread the word on your social media so that the world finds out about this fabulous book that launches on January 11, 2022. With Covid still a huge presence in our world, authors need our help more than ever. Please tweet about the book, share on FB, Instagram, or other social media platforms, ask your library to purchase a copy, tell friends about it, and review the book on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or B&N. Most of these actions don’t cost any money, but they are important to the success of a book.

OPAL LEE AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FREE: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth

Written by Alice Faye Duncan

Illustrated by Keturah A Bobo

Published by Tommy Nelson/Imprint of Thomas Nelson (2022)

Ages: 4-8+

Themes: Juneteenth, freedom, activism

Synopsis: From Amazon:

The true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday that represents the nation’s creed of “freedom for all.”

Every year, Opal looked forward to the Juneteenth picnic–a drumming, dancing, delicious party. She knew from Granddaddy Zak’s stories that Juneteenth celebrated the day the freedom news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation finally sailed into Texas in 1865–over two years after the president had declared it! But Opal didn’t always see freedom in her Texas town. Then one Juneteenth day when Opal was twelve years old, an angry crowd burned down her brand-new home. This wasn’t freedom at all. She had to do something! Opal Lee spent the rest of her life speaking up for equality and unity. She became a teacher, a charity worker, and a community leader. At the age of 89, she walked from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C., in an effort to gain national recognition for Juneteenth.

Through the story of Opal Lee’s determination and persistence, children ages 4 to 8 will learn:

  • all people are created equal
  • the power of bravery and using your voice for change
  • the history of Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, and what it means today
  • no one is free unless everyone is free
  • fighting for a dream is worth every difficulty

Featuring the illustrations of New York Times bestselling illustrator Keturah A. Bobo (I am Enough), Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free celebrates the life and legacy of a modern-day Black leader while sharing a message of hope, unity, joy, and strength.

From the book’s press release:
“Children begin forming internal biases about race as early as 3 months old, research from the American Psychological Association tells us. It is essential to give parents resources they can trust that come from people of color and present hard truths of history and the challenges still faced alongside celebrations of the progress made, depictions of black joy, and a hopeful vision for tomorrow.”

  • all people are created equal
  • the power of bravery and using your voice for change
  • the history of Juneteenth and what it means today
  • no one is free unless everyone is free
  • fighting for a dream is worth every difficulty

Why I Love This Book:

1, I love important books about real people who had a vision/mission and never gave up!

2. I love that the story is told from the voice of one of the children in Opal’s family.

3. I love the vibrant illustrations that bring each character to life…and the cover is AMAZING!

Here a little bit about the author: Alice Faye Duncan is a National Board Certified Teacher, who writes for young learners. Memory is her motivation. She writes to help children remember important moments from African American history. Her books are celebrated for vivid imagery and lyrical texts that sound like music. Alice’s most popular titles include A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks; Just Like a Mama; Honey Baby Sugar Child; and Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop, which received a 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Medal. Alice lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where at a young age, her mother nurtured her writing talent with prayer, poetry books, and praise. Learn more at

And here’s a little bit about the illustrator: Keturah A. Bobo is an artist and New York Times bestselling illustrator known for creating vibrant images that are relatable and distinguishable. She is passionate about creating art that inspires, uplifts, and advocates for her community. Keturah has received notable praises for her colorful illustrative style that brings the story to life and resonates with the viewer. She graduated with a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her family of entrepreneurs. Learn more at


Find kid crafts for Juneteenth celebrations here:

And more family activities here:

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of this incredible book. But honestly, the book is available for pre-order RIGHT NOW...and if you are the lucky winner, you can always gift that copy to your local school or library.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And please come back tomorrow for a special Will Write for Cookies with THREE members of Kid Lit Caravan…there are LOTS of goodies in store for you.

26 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: OPAL LEE – And What It Means to be Free Plus Giveaway

  1. I’m already falling in love with this book just based on the cover. Then after reading the blog, wow is all I can say. I’m sure there are numerous ways this book could be used during instruction. Who doesn’t love a good read aloud?


  2. My class joined the author’s reading of the book and found it to be very moving. We would love to own a copy for our classroom library.


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