“An important look at Juneteenth history, made accessible for young readers.” — Kirkus Reviews

Buffalo, NY native Alliah L. Agostini is an award-winning marketer who has marketed everything from iconic brands to scrappy start-ups, but motherhood helped her return to her first love: children’s literature. She writes and speaks to spread joy, truth, and to help more children see themselves reflected on the page.

Alliah is a widely sought-after speaker for audiences of all ages, and the author of several highly celebrated non-fiction and fiction children’s books that celebrate Black joy and truth. Her released and upcoming work includes The Juneteenth Cookbook, award-winning The Juneteenth Story, Junior Library Guild Selection BIG TUNE: Rise of the Dancehall Prince, an NYPL Best Book of 2023, Oprah Winfrey: A Little Golden Book Biography, Great Idea Malia, Scarecited on the First Day of School, No Cat Like Tac and more.

Ms. Agostini and her work have been featured widely in press, including Oprah Daily, Essence, The Washington Post, TheGrio, CNN, TODAY with Hoda and Jenna, Morning in America, NPR, Good Housekeeping, and Book Riot. She resides in New Jersey with her husband and two children, and has an A.B. and an M.B.A. from Harvard.

Alliah L.'s Featured Titles

No Cat Like Tac

Disney Hyperion |

Meet Tac, an unusual cat! Her pounce shakes the house, her zoomies are a doozy, and her hairballs are . . . well, fireballs. But she’ll always be family. Right?

In the tradition of Not Quite Narwhal and Wolfie the Bunny, this laugh-out-loud picture book shows that love can overcome even the biggest, most unlikely differences!

When Tyra finds a box labeled “free kittens,” Dad says she can pick just one to adopt. So Tyra chooses Tac: a BIG kitten who’s a little different from other cats.

Tyra makes sure Tac has tons of toys to play with, lots of cozy places to cuddle, and plenty of love and affection. But everything about Tac, from her zoomies to her hairballs, is bigger, louder, and fierier than other cats.

Then one day, Tac’s mischief gets out of control, and Dad says “ENOUGH!” Can Tyra find a way to prove Tac is part of the family, differences and all?

With spare, sweet text and humorous illustrations that tell another side of the story, No Cat Like Tac sends the funny but heartfelt message that family is about being yourselves, but choosing each other.

Great Idea Malia!

Holiday House |

Malia has big ideas and boundless energy for problem-solving her mom’s new job in this joyful picture book that’s perfect for young families juggling work and play.

Malia loves two things: spending time with Mom and dreaming up Great Ideas. That’s why they call her Great Idea Malia! (Or at least . . . they should!)

When Mom gets a big new job, she is busier than ever. Malia realizes that Mom needs help. Time for some Great Ideas!

1. Malia cleans Mom’s office—sweeping her paperwork into the recycling.
2. Malia answers all her emails—with random emojis.
3. Malia even jazzes up her presentation— with cute dinosaurs and unicorns.

When it turns out this was not the help Mom had in mind, Malia needs a better-than-ever Great Idea to make things right.

Explore the big power of “small” ideas in this relatable story with a lovable mother-daughter duo, fabulous art, and inspirational—if slightly misplaced—energy.

Blexi, Play!

Paw Prints Readers |

Dealing with a stubborn smart home speaker results in welcome lessons about patience in this Level 1 early reader. Blexi listens to Mom and Blexi listens to Dad — but Blexi doesn’t listen to Liam! No matter how much Liam tries to get Blexi to do what he asks, the smart speaker simply won’t listen. What can Liam do as his frustration grows and grows? Learn some patience and kindness, of course! A modern story that nurtures emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills. And, font friendly for dyslexic readers.

The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate

becker&mayer! kids |

Celebrate Juneteenth and radiate #BlackJoy through traditional food and cultural activities.

A commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, the Juneteenth holiday has been observed in the Black community for over 150 years. In The Juneteenth Cookbook, Alliah L. Agostini, author of the popular children’s book The Juneteenth Story—which won the 2022 Black Kid Lit Award for Best Historical title—brings the tradition to your home through historically accurate recipes and educational family activities.

With captivating illustrations of 18 quick and easy recipes, follow along with little Alliah and her grandparents as they explore the historical origins of the holiday through food. Make, share, and enjoy kid-friendly takes on some of the most popular Juneteenth celebration foods, including:

  • Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Frances Price’s Calico Potato Salad
  • Saucy Pulled Chicken Sliders with Bangin’ Barbeque Sauce
  • Freedom Fizz (homemade red pop)
  • Hot Links & Chow Chow Relish
  • Corn Muffins with Hot Honey Butter
  • Mac ‘n’ Please
  • Sweet Potato Pie Bars
  • And more!

All recipes use simple and accessible ingredients, which can be easily substituted for a variety of diets and preferences. Each recipe can also easily be multiplied for larger groups, and the instructions are written with families in mind so everyone from toddler to grandparent can participate in crafting the ultimate Juneteenth celebration spread! Alongside all the delicious recipes, you’ll also learn a brief history of barbeque and it’s importance to the Juneteenth holiday and Black culture in America.

Keep the celebration going with five fun and educational activity sections that include crafting projects (creating an African medallion necklace and designing your own Juneteenth gear with block printing); table and field games (playing mancala and having relay races); on-site or virtual field trips (visiting museums and historic locations or joining Juneteenth celebrations in culturally important American cities); and dancing to the music of the holiday with Alliah’s Cookout DJ 101 tutorial. These activities are perfect for families, community groups, or classes and bring elements of the road to emancipation and Juneteenth’s history to life.

Comprised of 90 percent cooking and 10 percent family and community engagement, The Juneteenth Cookbook brings kids and families a sensory-rich, hands-on exploration of this important and historic American holiday.

Oprah Winfrey: A Little Golden Book Biography

Golden Books |
Children’s Biographies

Help your little one dream big with a Little Golden Book biography about talk show host, producer, and actor Oprah Winfrey. Little Golden Book biographies are the perfect introduction to nonfiction for preschoolers!

This Little Golden Book about Oprah Winfrey–host of the highest-rated daytime talk show in American history, and one of the most influential and successful women in the world–is an inspiring read-aloud for young children, as well as their parents and grandparents.

Big Tune: Rise of the Dancehall Prince

Farrar, Straus and Giroux |

Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

An exuberant picture book written by Alliah L. Agostini and illustrated by Shamar Knight-Justice is about a Black boy with big dancing dreams who learns the meaning of courage and community.

It’s the weekend, first in June; speaker’s blasting out big tune!
Cousins, aunties, uncles, friends pack the house, and fun begins.

Shane is shy but loves to dance―and all year long, he’s picked up cans to earn some money toward his goal: high-tops with a pump-up sole.

But then the speaker blows―it’s done! Will this stop his family’s fun? Can Shane come through to save the day and bring back Big Tune Saturday?

Set within a vibrant Caribbean American neighborhood and told to a rhythmic beat, Big Tune is a story of Black boy joy that touches on determination, confidence to express who you are, selflessness, and community gratitude.

The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States

becker&mayer! kids |

Winner of the 2022 the Black Kid Lit Award for Best Historical title.

With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this introductory history of Juneteenth for kids details the evolution of the holiday commemorating the date the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom​.

On June 19, 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom. That day became a day of remembrance and celebration that changed and grew from year to year.

Learn about the events that led to emancipation and why it took so long for the enslaved people in Texas to hear the news. The first Juneteenth began as “Jubilee Day,” where families celebrated and learned of their new rights as citizens. As Black Texans moved to other parts of the country, they brought their traditions along with them, and Juneteenth continued to grow and develop.

Today, Juneteenth’s powerful spirit has endured through the centuries to become an official holiday in the United States in 2021The Juneteenth Story provides an accessible introduction for kids to learn about this important American holiday.


Juneteenth 101

A presentation about the history of Juneteenth, how our newest American holiday evolved over the years, and Alliah’s personal connection to the holiday. Great for 3rd grade+
Also available in a fireside chat format for adult audiences.


Uncovering Your Story

First, learn about how Alliah became an author by taking inspiration from her and her family’s own experiences to turn them into works of non-fiction AND fiction. Then, she’ll then lead the students in an exercise to create a groundwork for stories (fiction or non-fiction) inspired by their own experiences. Great for 3rd grade+


BIG TUNE Rhyme Time

Join Alliah for a lively BIG TUNE read aloud, where students will help her keep the rhythm, guess the rhyme, learn a little bit about Caribbean culture, food, vocabulary, and most importantly, dance!
Great for early Elementary students (K-2) and up.

The Juneteenth Story – Additional Resources

Big Tune – Instrumentals: A playlist of iconic Dancehall riddems/rhythms produced by Dave Kelly

Alliah’s Press Link

Alliah’s Events Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Best Book of the Year by both the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Kirkus – Starred Review, Named Best Books to Read in March
Publishers Weekly – Starred Review, Named a Top Children’s Book for March 2023

Best Historical Book, Black Kidlit Awards 2022

Featured Juneteenth Title, Oprah Daily
School Library Journal, starred review
Shelf Awareness, starred review

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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