Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Starring a likable girl named Cassandra, Weatherford's debut introduces readers to Juneteenth, which commemorates the events of June 19, 1865. On that day Texas slaves learned about their emancipation-an astonishing two and a half years after Lincoln signed the proclamation. Cassandra, newly moved to Texas, doesn't know about the holiday-her parents and other relatives are cooking, dancing and dressing up a storm, all the while telling her to expect a surprise (the only hint is that it's a Texas tradition). She is duly astonished by the rousing Juneteenth celebration, with its shows, parade, crafts and cheerful spectators. Although wordy, the enthusiastic text allows readers to discover-and celebrate-the holiday along with Cassandra. But the larger treat is newcomer Buchanan's loose pen-and-ink and watercolor art. Festive and full of mirth, her fluid, motion-packed lines put a visible spring in her characters' steps, and her palette is as summery as lemonade and blue skies. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Dia L. Michels
Did you know that "Juneteenth" is short for "June 19th.," the anniversary of the day in 1865 that Texas slaves learned of their freedom? Young Cassandra has just moved to Texas and is celebrating the anniversary for the first time. She makes a new friend, feasts on delicious Texas-style food, and joins others in letting off balloons of freedom. The celebration makes her feel at home in Texas for the first time since she moved. Learn about a Texas tradition from a child's point of view in this delightful story about the joy of freedom.
Children's Literature - Margaret McGill
Having just settled into a brand new house in unfamiliar Texas, Cassandra wonders what the summer will hold, feeling not quite at home in her parents' hometown. Over the course of what initially seems to be a normal summer day, however, Cassandra soon discovers exciting and unfamiliar Juneteenth, a Texas holiday that celebrates the emancipation of slaves on June 19, 1865, two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Experiencing such a significant commemoration allows Cassandra to discover not only a new appreciation for her parents' birthplace but also a new respect for its rich, meaningful traditions. Buchanan uses watercolor illustrations to imaginatively reflect the delight and marvel Cassandra experiences as she absorbs the surrounding celebratory events. In particular, her illustrations of the balloons, each of which carries away individual slavery scenes never to be seen again, are particularly impressive and detailed. This picture book, which provides a creative introduction to historical events, would be a valuable selection for elementary school students to read. Reviewer: Margaret McGill
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Cassandra's family has moved to her parents' hometown in Texas, but she misses her friends and does not feel quite at home. All that changes when she and her brother are surprised by and then experience their first Juneteenth celebration, an event held each year to commemorate the day Texas slaves heard that they had been freed by Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Weatherford does an excellent job of explaining what this holiday is, and what it means to African Americans. Buchanan's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations add a joyous and celebratory touch, showing all of the dances, parades, balloons, crowds, and other festivities that mark the day. Juneteenth Jamboree represents a wonderful way to introduce this unique holiday (it was made a legal holiday in Texas in 1980).-Carol Jones Collins, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ