Book Review: A Flag for Juneteenth
by Kim Taylor, Illustrated by Kim Taylor
Publication Date: Jan 03, 2023
List Price: $18.99
Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
Target Age Group: Picture Book
Imprint: Neal Porter Books
Publisher: Holiday House
Parent Company: Holiday House, Inc.
Book Reviewed by Mel Hopkins
In A Flag for Juneteenth, Kim Taylor weaves a tale of freedom and how to achieve it even when your world is in tatters.
And while this may seem a heavy summation for a book written for early to middle childhood youngsters, A Flag for Juneteenth will resonate with readers of all ages.
Children’s book themes are for learning something new. But when adults read children’s books, it can give them a chance to go back and relearn what they may have forgotten.
This was true for me, as the story provided a breakthrough moment when I followed young Huldah’s journey. It took me back to celebrating my tenth birthday as she prepared to do with her family. The only difference, I was in a home owned by my parents and the bank. In contrast, Huldah lived on a Texas plantation and was born into chattel slavery.
Still, Huldah anticipated all the joy she’d experience in her ascent into double digits. One present she didn’t count on was proclaimed freedom from enslavement. Huldah arose on her birthday to hear her family singing praises after the military announced the two-year-old emancipation proclamation on June 19, 1865. This “oversight” forms the basis of the Juneteenth Jubilee. Yet after reading that passage, I paused to say, in reaction to today’s political climate, “Are we really free?”
Huldah answers the question for a curmudgeon like me as her story unfolds.
A story quilt filled with symbols of hope and aspirations crafted by master quilter Kim Taylor guides Huldah’s journey. The twenty-six 15 by 15 squares illustrate the 40-page book through a roller scanning process that gives the pages a tactile quality.
Cliche as this may sound, A Flag for Juneteenth is genuinely a work of art. In addition to sharing a great message of hope, A Flag for Juneteenth is a gorgeous coffee table book that inspires thoughtful conversation.