A beautifully-crafted set of illustrations and flowing language about a thinly-covered subject that leaves readers wishing for more: A Flag For Juneteenth by Kim Taylor.
A Flag For Juneteenth Review
The recently-minted national holiday of Juneteenth is a subject that still has limited selection in terms of children’s books. The story follows Hulduh, a slave girl whose birthday is also the day that the last slaves in Texas found out that they were free – June 19, 1965. The day becomes a jubilee for her birthday and their freedom. Imaginative and mature Hulduh rejoices in the news and the special freedom flag she receives as a gift.
This historical fiction picture book is by debut author-illustrator Kim Taylor – if you can even call it illustration. Rather than drawings or paintings, the entirety of the artwork in this book was done through quiltwork. Taylor’s talent as a quilter is evident through her vibrant illustrations. As impressive is her word choice that turns reading the book into a multisensory experience. What left me wanting more was in the storyline. Taylor’s quite obviously thoroughly-researched story with symbolism throughout becomes the focus while the plot is incompletely developed.
While more books about Juneteenth are very much needed in libraries and bookshelves, A Flag For Juneteenth is not one I would advocate for adding to your bookshelves unless you have a very specific reader in mind to read it. The many merits of the book are overshadowed by the under-developed plot. Where the illustrator leaves faces blank for readers to fill in with their own imaginations, the same could be said of the storyline – the latter lacking the success of the former. It is unfortunate for the idea behind the story that could just use a little more fine tuning.