All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

by Angela Johnson, E.B. Lewis

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Overview

Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis.

Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms.

Told in Angela Johnson’s signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis’s striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation’s history.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

★ 05/01/2014
Gr 3 Up—Previous picture books about Juneteenth (the holiday celebrating the day slaves were freed in Texas—two years after the rest of the country) have focused on contemporary children discovering this quirk of history. Valerie Wesley's Freedom's Gifts (S. & S., 1997) and Carole Boston Weatherford's Juneteenth Jamboree (Lee & Low, 1995) fall into that category. Johnson imagines what it would be like to be a slave one minute and a free person the next. Spare text, structured as free verse, hones in on the smell of honeysuckle and breakfast routines as the day begins, like any other. The titular phrase appears three times: first to build suspense, then to indicate the earthshaking import of the message spreading from the port, and, finally, to reflect on the consequences. Lewis paints details not mentioned. The protagonist is a girl living in the slave quarters with her siblings and mother. They are working in the cotton fields when the news arrives. Skillful watercolor renderings depict nuanced changes in lighting and focus, thereby capturing individual responses to a community's new reality—from incredulity and quiet contemplation to rapture. Occasional panels indicate passing time; the brilliant clarity of the fields at noon fades to a green-blue gauze over the revelers heading home from a late-night celebration. A time line, glossary, overview, list of websites, and notes by author and illustrator provide deeper understanding. With a narrative notable for its understated simplicity and lack of judgment, this title allows readers to draw their own conclusions. An affecting entrée to a challenging conversation.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

Publishers Weekly

★ 03/17/2014
This elegant collaboration by the creators of Lily Brown’s Paintings tells of the day that slaves on a Texas plantation learn they are free, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Johnson’s graceful poem is narrated by a girl who heads to the cotton fields one June morning with her family and other slaves, unaware “that soon,/ it would all be different.” As word spreads, reactions range from serene contemplativeness to elation. Amid the cotton plants, an elderly man cries quietly, several adults bow their heads in prayer, and the girl’s mother silently hugs her: “My mama held my hand softly/ and looked beyond,/ as another breeze blew over/ and everything/ fell to a/ hush.” Using a lovely, muted palette, Lewis’s expressive watercolors convey the impact of the news of freedom, dramatically contrasting the slaves’ lives before and after. Initially picturing the slaves toiling “under the hot Texas sun,” Lewis later captures their tranquil joy as they gather on a beach in the cool night “as free people.” Back matter provides historical context for this powerfully visualized story. Ages 5–9. (May)

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Johnson’s quiet ragged-right prose has a credible breathlessness as it conveys the mixture of stunned amazement and sheer joy. Lewis’ limpid watercolors are low-key, his usual chiaroscuro effectively illuminating the diurnal progress of the text as well as the emotional shades of the story...This is an emotive and effective way to take emancipation from a historic date to the experience of people whose lives changed, and it’ll open kids’ eyes to the impact of the transition."

STARRED REVIEW Horn Book

*"Juneteenth...is a day of celebration for many African Americans. In exquisite, lyrical text, Johnson reimagines that historic event from the perspective of one fictional family, on a day that started like any other...Lewis’s soft watercolors mirror the emotion of the text...Placed alongside the many very good books about slavery for young readers, Johnson and Lewis’s story is an excellent next step in African American history, a celebration of moving forward."

Library Media Connection

"This is a handsomely designed book, a thoughtful book, a joyous book, and a great historical perspective."

Booklist

"Rich, subdued watercolors convey the celebrations with dignity and awe. Johnson's attached verse enables younger readers to see the momentous nature of this date...a worthy addition to any collection on the topic."

Booklist

"Rich, subdued watercolors convey the celebrations with dignity and awe. Johnson's attached verse enables younger readers to see the momentous nature of this date...a worthy addition to any collection on the topic."

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2014-02-26
Johnson tells a tale of Juneteenth in Texas through the eyes of a child, while Lewis' earth-toned watercolor illustrations capture the quotidian aspects of the way of life emancipation ended. The young female speaker who lives and works on the plantation with her mother, siblings and others takes personally the titular phrase, "all different now," when freedom comes. Just before the Union general announces on the balcony of the big house that the slaves are "now and forever free," rumors of this news has spread so quickly from the port to the countryside that Lewis includes an image with four vertical panels showing slaves engaged in many different types of work, passing the word and responding with surprise, shock and praise to the news. The historical details that Lewis integrates into the images situate Johnson's story historically and give young readers a sense of what cotton plantations in the mid-1860s looked like. In the backmatter, Johnson makes clear why this bit of history matters to her, and Lewis shares the impossibility of contemporary Americans' reaching a true understanding of the lives of 19th-century slaves—but how important it is to try. The richness of this book's words and images will inspire readers to learn more about this holiday that never should have been necessary…but was. (Web resources, glossary) (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481406475
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 40
Lexile: AD830L (what's this?)
File size: 18 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews