• Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free

  • The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth
  • By: Alice Faye Duncan
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 18 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Booklist starred review

Black activist Opal Lee had a vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone. This true story 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. Join Opal on her historic journey to recognize and celebrate "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! But could one person’s voice make a difference? Could Opal bring about national recognition of Juneteenth? Follow Opal Lee as she fights to improve the future by honoring the past.

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 the difficulty experienced along the way

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

©2022 Alice Faye Duncan (P)2022 Thomas Nelson

Featured Article: Celebrate and Honor Juneteenth with These Important Listens

On June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 to announce the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to the residents of the state of Texas—finally freeing all remaining enslaved people, nearly two and a half years after President Lincoln’s original proclamation. Juneteenth is an opportunity for the African American community to honor their history, achievements, and important contributions to America. Here are outstanding Juneteenth audiobooks in recognition of our newest federal holiday.

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