Expert quilter Kim Taylor shares a unique and powerful story of the celebration of the first Juneteenth, from the perspective of a young girl.
On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, General Gordon Granger of the Union Army delivered the message that African Americans in Texas were free. Since then, Juneteenth, as the day has come to be known, has steadily gained recognition throughout the United States. ln 2020,a powerful wave of protests and demonstrations calling for racial justice and equality brought new awareness to the significance of the holiday.
A Flag for Juneteenth depicts a close-knit community of enslaved African Americans on a plantation in Texas, the day before the announcement is to be made that all enslaved people are free. Young Huldah, who is preparing to celebrate her tenth birthday, can’t possibly anticipate how much her life will change that Juneteenth morning. The story follows Huldah and her community as they process the news of their freedom and celebrate together by creating a community freedom flag.
Debut author and artist Kim Taylor sets this story apart by applying her skills as an expert quilter. Each of the illustrations has been lovingly hand sewn and quilted, giving the book a homespun, tactile quality that is altogether unique.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Kim Taylor is a speech language pathologist and Department Supervisor at a large school for deaf children on Long Island. She is also an expert quilter whose works have been exhibited at several venues throughout the Midatlantic region. Taylor’s quilts reflect African American life, and she tells stories through her materials (visit Kim’s website to see her quilts). After researching the origins of the Juneteenth celebration, she created a Juneteenth story quilt which she has exhibited and presented in dozens of local schools. Realizing that few teachers and students had ever heard of the holiday, she was moved to write this book.
"The picture book . . . not only reveals Taylor’s considerable talents as an inspiring raconteur but as a self-taught quilter whose creations uniquely and symbolically illustrate the historically based narrative."—Newsday
★ "Kim Taylor's portrayal of a girl witnessing the first Juneteenth, accompanied by exquisite quilted artwork, is filled with a spirit of jubilation and freedom. . . . her textile art perfectly complements her evocative prose. . . ."—BookPage, Starred Review
"The illustrations quilted by Taylor display strong artistic use of color, texture, movement, stitching, and symbols. Each page has vibrant colors that grab readers at first glance. . . . Taylor effectively breathes life into the characters, even those muddled in the background, by showing their humanity in each page."—School Library Journal
"Both lyrical and descriptive, Huldah’s voice conveys the joy that is found in freedom. . . . A great introduction to the federal holiday."—The Horn Book
"Taylor aptly depicts this story through colorful woven fabrics and folk art-style, quilted scenes."—Booklist
"[A] moving debut. . . . It's a discussion-starting, personal-feeling portrait of a communal celebration."—Publishers Weekly
"The art in this work from quilter Taylor is stunning. The craftsmanship and attention to detail are breathtaking. . . . Visually dazzling. . . ."—Kirkus Reviews