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The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

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The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson. A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generati The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson. A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders. But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived.


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The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson. A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generati The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson. A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders. But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived.

30 review for The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    FFirst, I will be buying a copy of this book for my daughter. Second, I can't see this book not getting nominations for some serious awards like the Caldecott or the Coretta Scott King Award. I received this book for review, but all thoughts are my own. Honestly, I had no idea that this book was forthcoming until I was scrolling through Eidelweiss and saw the cover then I saw "The 1619 Project" and I knew that it was a title that I was going to want to read. It begins with the main character fee FFirst, I will be buying a copy of this book for my daughter. Second, I can't see this book not getting nominations for some serious awards like the Caldecott or the Coretta Scott King Award. I received this book for review, but all thoughts are my own. Honestly, I had no idea that this book was forthcoming until I was scrolling through Eidelweiss and saw the cover then I saw "The 1619 Project" and I knew that it was a title that I was going to want to read. It begins with the main character feeling ashamed that she is unable to complete a school project about family ancestry. Unsurprisingly, like quite a few Black people she only knows her family history to a certain point (like her I only know up to about my great great grandmother). It's then that her grandmother tells her the true origins of her history. What follows next is a poetic and heartbreakingly beautiful exposition about the way in which our ancestors were stripped of everything they knew to be brought to an unfamiliar land. This book reminded me of a pretty popular quote, "People say that slaves were taken from Africa. This is not true. People were taken from Africa and were made into slaves." Our ancestors were robbed of their culture, traditions, their very way of life. Who we are now as Black Americans is the result of our ancestry being born on the water. Different tribes from various parts of the continent of Africa were forced together to form a new life, a way to survive the constant trauma inflicted on them. They chose to keep going and to somehow have hope that one day things would change. I don't know how they did it, but like the main character, I'm living that dream for them and it's something that I don't take likely and it's something that I'll never forget. Each poem in this book is sacred to me because it tells the story of where I come from even if I don't know the specifics. With artwork that is out of this world, rich paintings that evoke such deep emotions, this is easily one of my favorite books of 2021. Although it isn't out yet, I highly recommend that you keep this one on your radar.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    For as long as authors of books for children have determined that they should be open and honest with their young readers, they have struggled with how much trauma is appropriate. You hear this debate a lot as it pertains to the Holocaust. Should we put it in books? How often? How young should readers be to hear about it? How young is too young? There are strong opinions but no clear-cut answers. The same could be said about slavery in America. But for too long, the Black American history taught For as long as authors of books for children have determined that they should be open and honest with their young readers, they have struggled with how much trauma is appropriate. You hear this debate a lot as it pertains to the Holocaust. Should we put it in books? How often? How young should readers be to hear about it? How young is too young? There are strong opinions but no clear-cut answers. The same could be said about slavery in America. But for too long, the Black American history taught in schools has hooked its beginnings on the existence of slavery. Meanwhile the books kids were given to read with Black characters tended to rely on trauma and misery. It’s only been recently that the concept of #blackjoy, and handing kids books that star Black characters but aren’t all slavery or Civil Rights titles, has entered the mainstream vocabulary. And I want to be clear that yes, there is slavery in The 1619 Project: Born On the Water, but like this year’s surprisingly good Timelines From Black History: Leaders, Legends, Legacies, this book begins long before that slavery took place. “Their story does not begin with whips and chains” says the book. And poetry, at least this poetry, doesn't lie. Author Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson says in their Author’s Note that the intention here was to, “show that Black Americans have their own proud origin story, one that does not begin in slavery, in struggle, and in strife but that bridges the gap between Africa and the United States of America. We begin this book with the rich cultures of West Africa and then weave the tale of how after the Middle Passage, Black Americans created a new people here on this land.” And so our story starts with a Black girl in school being given an assignment to trace her roots and “Draw a flag that represents your ancestral land.” The girl is stumped. While the white kids around her are bragging on how many generations they have, she feels ashamed that she can only count back three. When she mentions this to her grandmother, Grandma gathers the whole family and begins to tell a story. She doesn’t begin in slavery, though. She begins before 1619 and the ship White Lion that brought slaves before even The Mayflower. She relates times in the Kingdom of Ndongo where the people, “knew the power of a seed, how to plant it, water it, how to make something out of nothing.” And yes, slavery took their ancestors. But the way she tells it you realize that this is a much bigger, more complicated story than the ones they teach the kids in school. Best of all, it leaves kids, just like the main character, holding up their heads with pride. Like other librarians I was more familiar with Renée Watson and her work than I was with Nikole Hannah-Jones. That is, until I realized that this was the same Nikole Hannah-Jones that declined a tenure offer at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, accepting a Knight Chair Appointment at Howard University. What's more, she’s the creator of the 1619 Project itself. Collaborator Renée Watson, on the other hand, has vast experience writing children’s and YA materials in a variety of different forms and formats. Whether it’s the picture book biography of Florence Mills ( Harlem’s Little Blackbird), early chapter book series (the Ryan Hart, stories), fictionalized biographies ( Betty Before X), realistic contemporary middle grades ( Some Places More Than Others), multiple anthologies or YA novels, she has this vast range. She’d never really done historical poetry before, but after reading this book you can see how well she adapts to new styles. So why poetry? Why use that particular form to tell this story? I’m always intrigued by an author’s choice to turn a book into verse. There are times that this choice feels off-handed and superficially stylistic. This is most often the case when you half suspect the designer of the book reset the typeface and rearranged the book so that it looks like verse, just so that they could fill space. Not so here. Since this is Grandma’s story in Grandma’s voice, you need a clear delineation between the present and the past. Poetry provides that important break, but has other functions as well. For example, look at how repetition in the book is key. Notice how Watson uses that repetition on lines like, “They spoke Kimbundu, had their own words”. There are others too. “We are in a strange land … But we are here and we will make this home.” It’s a chant. Thanks to poetry, the child reader finds a comfort in the repeated lines, both before and after the traumatizing events. More to the point, the repetition in the second half of the book harkens back to the repetition in the first half, making it clear that the people who have been stolen are carrying with them things from home that cannot be carried anywhere but inside. The book also goes right for the jugular. Talking about the moment when the people were stolen the text reads that, “They did not get to pack bags stuffed with cherished things, with the doll grandmamma had woven from tall grass…” Watch how artist Nikkolas Smith renders the village, empty and destroyed, one doll woven from grass tied to a tree alone. “Ours is no immigration story.” This story does not begin with slavery because if you start with slavery then you have no sense of what has been lost. Roots knew this. Kids books have a tendency to forget. Now I would love to hear the story of how artist Nikkolas Smith was added to this project. Out of curiosity I took a look at his website and what I saw there was this jaw-dropping range of styles to rival Renée Watson herself . The man is just as comfortable rendering an image with Pixar-level smoothness as he is the broad, thick brush strokes of paint you’d find in any Impressionist painting. Yet when it comes to books for kids, it feels as though he’s been reigning himself in. This isn’t uncommon amongst fine artists making the transition to picture books. Too often they dumb down their style or iron out whatever it is that makes them unique. This in spite of the fact that if they embrace the bookmaking process with the same vigor they do their art, they could end up with a multi-award winner like Gordon C. James’s work on Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. Fortunately, somewhere between his first few books and Born on the Water a switch was flipped. These paints are unrestrained, the brush strokes thick, plentiful, and beautiful. In his Note at the back of the book he credits Central West Africa for the details in architecture, hair, instruments, clothing, and more he chose to include. He uses “African scarification pattern motifs, where Life, Death, and Rebirth are present.” But on top of all that, on top of the sheer beauty of the paint itself, he knows how to render laughter. Sometimes I think laughter that looks like laughter must be the most difficult thing an artist can create. Not so for Mr. Smith. He can do misery and cruelty and pain as well as anyone else, but he does full-throated joy just as well. Not everyone is so talented. A person could take a much deeper dive into the art than I have here. The endpapers alone are worth a ten-minute discussion, after all. There’s a lot more to say about the text too. We could discuss how this whole endeavor could easily have tipped sideways. How countless books with good intentions have sunk under the weight of their material, rendering their subject matter flat and, in spite of the content, uninteresting to kids. This book, I believe kids will like. Effort has been put into the text, and the framing sequence (a class assignment that more than one kid will recognize from their own life) is a brilliant way to couch this. This book is clever and gutting and gorgeous. And here’s the highest compliment of all: I truly believe that a kid, on their own, would read this multiple times. It’s a marvelous testament to not just the power of reclaiming your own story, but the story of your ancestors as well. A rarity deserving of discovery.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

    Amazing illustrations, powerful poems. A book that teaches Black children that they come from strong and resilient people who were free before they were enslaved and who helped build America. A powerful book!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diane Yannick

    This book is absolutely gorgeous, truly a masterpiece. Nicole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson have written a book for single every human, regardless of age or ethnicity. I believe that we need to work harder to open our hearts and reconsider others’ origin stories. It’s so easy to accept whitewashed, simplified, often inaccurate textbook versions of our history. We owe it to our children to do new research rather than repeat platitudes. “They had a home, a place, a land, a beginning. This story is This book is absolutely gorgeous, truly a masterpiece. Nicole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson have written a book for single every human, regardless of age or ethnicity. I believe that we need to work harder to open our hearts and reconsider others’ origin stories. It’s so easy to accept whitewashed, simplified, often inaccurate textbook versions of our history. We owe it to our children to do new research rather than repeat platitudes. “They had a home, a place, a land, a beginning. This story is our story. Before they were Enslaved, they were free.” “We are in a strange land, they said. But we are here and we will make this home. We have our songs, our recipes, our know-how We have our joy. We will love, laugh, and sing and hug our children as tight as you can hold a child. We will survive because we have each other.” Added to the beauty of words like the above are meaningful illustrations by the talented Nikkolas Smith. You need to own this book. Really.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    This phenomenal picture book came together with two writers and an illustrator. One writer was the creator of the 1619 project itself and the other is a well-known YA and middle grade author. The illustrator uses paint to create a vivid story of how the first people of Africa were kidnapped and brought to Virginia to become slaves. With more words than a traditional picture book, it has a mood, tells a story within a story, and showcases the past for the understanding of the future. It's richly This phenomenal picture book came together with two writers and an illustrator. One writer was the creator of the 1619 project itself and the other is a well-known YA and middle grade author. The illustrator uses paint to create a vivid story of how the first people of Africa were kidnapped and brought to Virginia to become slaves. With more words than a traditional picture book, it has a mood, tells a story within a story, and showcases the past for the understanding of the future. It's richly colorful with the scheme chosen in the paint style and the words pay homage to the story that is the dangerous part of American history that needs to be told.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    The educators' guide by Dr. Sonja Cherry Paul is just about as important as the book. Study it before you ever share the book with students. https://storage.googleapis.com/classr... And make sure you are prepared to give plenty of time to this book. It is not a quick one-and-done read aloud. The educators' guide by Dr. Sonja Cherry Paul is just about as important as the book. Study it before you ever share the book with students. https://storage.googleapis.com/classr... And make sure you are prepared to give plenty of time to this book. It is not a quick one-and-done read aloud.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janae (The Modish Geek)

    Necessary. The illustrations are beautiful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura Harrison

    One of my very favorite fall titles. Powerful, dramatic and beautiful. I anticipate it to win awards in 2022

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight

    Excellent, brilliant - doesn't shy away from hard issues while being age-appropriate. I do take issue with the very end of the book, but it's still leagues better than most kid's books on the topic. Excellent, brilliant - doesn't shy away from hard issues while being age-appropriate. I do take issue with the very end of the book, but it's still leagues better than most kid's books on the topic.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This is a book that I would have loved to have as a kid. Much like the little girl in the story, I can only trace my family back 3 or 4 generations, then nothing. Slavery took that way and in American schools the depth and breadth of slavery and it's consequences are not taught. As a Black American, I am taught that my history begins at slavery. This book help explains that Black people in America are much more than the descendants of slaves. We had entire histories and cultures for the Trans-Atl This is a book that I would have loved to have as a kid. Much like the little girl in the story, I can only trace my family back 3 or 4 generations, then nothing. Slavery took that way and in American schools the depth and breadth of slavery and it's consequences are not taught. As a Black American, I am taught that my history begins at slavery. This book help explains that Black people in America are much more than the descendants of slaves. We had entire histories and cultures for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade robbed us of that. It's explained in such a way that children will understand. The poetry in this book is beautiful and the illustrations are stunning. Adults will appreciate this book as much as children. Absolutely amazing!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    In 1619, many people were "born on the water" - people who survived harsh, unfair, and violent environments to live where they did not choose to settle. Ancestors were stolen from their homes in West Africa and brought to America. They had their own homes, their own talents, their own language. But they did not get to say goodbye, pack a bag, or save their treasured items for a journey to a new land. "Ours is no immigration story." I certainly never heard this story of America's slaves before. T In 1619, many people were "born on the water" - people who survived harsh, unfair, and violent environments to live where they did not choose to settle. Ancestors were stolen from their homes in West Africa and brought to America. They had their own homes, their own talents, their own language. But they did not get to say goodbye, pack a bag, or save their treasured items for a journey to a new land. "Ours is no immigration story." I certainly never heard this story of America's slaves before. Thanks to Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson for this new picture book that tells of struggle, but also of perseverance, hope, and survival. We need to know the truth of our past so that we can change the future. The audiobook is read by the author(s) and is beautiful and lyrical. I listened to it before seeing the book's illustrations. I recommend having both the text/illustrations and audio together.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nick Hendry

    A beautiful, emotional, and empowering children's book that centers around a young girl who is ashamed that she can't complete her family tree assignment at school as she can't trace her family back past her grandparents. This book through beautiful prose and verse takes us back to Africa and celebrates the lives of the people there, and then we mourn as white people invade their lands and steal those men, women, and children and sell them into slavery. These people become and give birth to thos A beautiful, emotional, and empowering children's book that centers around a young girl who is ashamed that she can't complete her family tree assignment at school as she can't trace her family back past her grandparents. This book through beautiful prose and verse takes us back to Africa and celebrates the lives of the people there, and then we mourn as white people invade their lands and steal those men, women, and children and sell them into slavery. These people become and give birth to those born on the water. This book was well done and I hope it will win some awards. The prose and illustrations are beautifully done and empowering and moving and the book is a empowering message of identity, history, resilience, determination, pride of heritage and culture, hopes, and dreams.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    A child’s dilemma with a school project regarding her ancestry inspires her grandmother to tell her the story of her ancestors whose lives—familial, communal, creative and intellectual lives—were honorable and purposeful. Her African ancestors were stolen and brought to this country in 1619-long before it was the United States. In spite of cruel and despicable hardships, those who survived the journey and generations who came after them, persevered with purpose, determination, accomplishments an A child’s dilemma with a school project regarding her ancestry inspires her grandmother to tell her the story of her ancestors whose lives—familial, communal, creative and intellectual lives—were honorable and purposeful. Her African ancestors were stolen and brought to this country in 1619-long before it was the United States. In spite of cruel and despicable hardships, those who survived the journey and generations who came after them, persevered with purpose, determination, accomplishments and deep connections to each other. The child’s grandmother helps her to understand the incredible strength, intelligence, commitment and purpose of her ancestors. She completes the school project proudly claiming her rights as an American. The illustrations are strong and evocative.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    Told through a series of poems gorgeously illustrated to evoke African images, “Born On the Water” offers a new origin story for descendants of those enslaved, those who arrived on the ship The White Lion in 1619. It’s a picture book filled w/ seemingly contradictory emotions: pain and joy, longing and belonging, anguish and peace. Only in recent years through the works of black writers have I a white woman come to an understanding of how black people can love this country that has such a heartb Told through a series of poems gorgeously illustrated to evoke African images, “Born On the Water” offers a new origin story for descendants of those enslaved, those who arrived on the ship The White Lion in 1619. It’s a picture book filled w/ seemingly contradictory emotions: pain and joy, longing and belonging, anguish and peace. Only in recent years through the works of black writers have I a white woman come to an understanding of how black people can love this country that has such a heartbreaking history of inequality and a legacy mired in man’s inhumanity to man. This little picture book deepens my understanding of black people’s patriotism and love of this sometimes seemingly unlovable country. Highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan David Pope

    “Born on the Water” is a gorgeously illustrated work, that accomplishes the task of retelling and most importantly correcting the American history we are often taught. It’s poetic, heartbreakingly beautiful. And goes to show the resistance and survival of our people who “had a home, a place, a land before they were sold.” My only critique would be the ending: “And because the people survived and because the people fought, America has equality in the law. And because the people survived and because th “Born on the Water” is a gorgeously illustrated work, that accomplishes the task of retelling and most importantly correcting the American history we are often taught. It’s poetic, heartbreakingly beautiful. And goes to show the resistance and survival of our people who “had a home, a place, a land before they were sold.” My only critique would be the ending: “And because the people survived and because the people fought, America has equality in the law. And because the people survived and because the people fought, American began to live up to its promise of democracy.” I think that this children’s book could have left this as a question…something for it’s readers both children and adults to ponder. Will America ever live up to it’s promise? Will the law ever be truly equal?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katelynne

    Simply WOW.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    This is a stunning picture book. Must read for all children (and adults)!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Powerful

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    Wow wow wow. Incredible. Absolutely lives up to the hype

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Rasor

    “This is not an immigration story.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly A.

    Powerful words combined with absolutely gorgeous art.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Krajewski

    Our children—we all—need this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    Through genealogical research, I found that one of my ancestors was born on the Atlantic Ocean. Without them, I would not be here. So yeah, this book is beautiful and necessary.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie Kellum

    *I read a digital ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    After the narrator, a young girl, worries because she cannot trace her ancestors far back for an school ancestry project, her grandmother reassures her that hers is a powerful legacy. Through her stories, she takes her and the rest of the family back to 1619 when her people were enslaved but also long before that to when they lived in the kingdom of Ndongo in West Central Africa. After describing what life was like and her ancestors' special talents, the elderly woman starkly states the reality After the narrator, a young girl, worries because she cannot trace her ancestors far back for an school ancestry project, her grandmother reassures her that hers is a powerful legacy. Through her stories, she takes her and the rest of the family back to 1619 when her people were enslaved but also long before that to when they lived in the kingdom of Ndongo in West Central Africa. After describing what life was like and her ancestors' special talents, the elderly woman starkly states the reality of those last moments of freedom: "Ours is no immigration story. // They did not get to pack bags stuffed with cherished things..." (unpaged). Torn from their families and the land they loved, they were put aboard ships bound for a new land that they had no desire to visit. While some chose to drown themselves rather than to live enslaved, others somehow survived and found ways to endure their conditions and bondage. They learned each others' languages and resisted their conditions by living, hoping for something better, and working for change. The narrator soaks in her grandmother's words and feels proud of those who came before her. Teachers will surely want to include this picture book with its evocative lines and poems as part of their history/social studies curriculum as it will surely empower many youngsters while raising questions for others. While I'm no apologist for what white Europeans did or their involvement in human trafficking, I wondered at the omission of any mention of betrayal of those once free, now enslaved individuals, by other Black profiteers.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heaven John

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I will be purchasing this for my elementary school library. With beautiful, haunting illustrations and a poetic flow, this is a must purchase to empower students. It starts out as a school project where our character must write about their family history, which is very common in schools. She feels ashamed that she only knows three generations back, as her ancestors were brought here enslaved. Many students feel shame in this, and I think it is something that is not talked about. The genius of th I will be purchasing this for my elementary school library. With beautiful, haunting illustrations and a poetic flow, this is a must purchase to empower students. It starts out as a school project where our character must write about their family history, which is very common in schools. She feels ashamed that she only knows three generations back, as her ancestors were brought here enslaved. Many students feel shame in this, and I think it is something that is not talked about. The genius of this book is in showing that African Americans had whole, complex cultures of their own that were ripped from them when they were brought to America and enslaved. In the beginning of the book, N. Hannah Jones spends time describing the Ndongo people and how they lived. Most books about enslaved people do not focus on the ‘before enslavement’ aspects or their humanity; this picture book is different in that it does. The poetic verses shine in this part of the book, showing a joy and pride speaking about the people and their way of life. The pages of the poem “Stolen” are devastating featuring a burned, plundered village. “Ours is no immigration story” as a repeated phrase is very powerful. In “William Tucker” I also especially loved the lines “Hope is a promise. Faith that a better day will come. Belief that things will not always be this way. Hope is a refusal to give up, to die out.” The last page is wonderful. She goes to school the next day and pulls out her red, white, and blue crayons and gets to work. Her story is an American story, after all. Very much “I, too, sing America” vibes. I recommend this book for all elementary school libraries. Thank you Edelweiss for the digital ARC!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alisun Thompson

    Obviously I knew this book was going to be amazing but here are some surprises for me and some of my favorite things. First, it's a school story (love those). It opens with a first person poem, "Questions." The narrator explains that she has to write a report of her family history. Concerned because she thinks she can only document 3 generations, her grandmother gives her a history lesson, taking her back to their origins in Africa. The first half of the book presents what life was like before h Obviously I knew this book was going to be amazing but here are some surprises for me and some of my favorite things. First, it's a school story (love those). It opens with a first person poem, "Questions." The narrator explains that she has to write a report of her family history. Concerned because she thinks she can only document 3 generations, her grandmother gives her a history lesson, taking her back to their origins in Africa. The first half of the book presents what life was like before her ancestors were enslaved with titles like "They Had a Language," "Their Hands Had a Knowing" and "And They Danced." The 2nd half deals with the brutal realities of slavery but manages to also present resilience and resistance in equal measure. The last two poems, Legacy & Pride tie together African American history and circle back to the original character. The illustrations are stunning. I just love that it is written in verse.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lana Mitchell

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "The 1619 Project: Born on the Water" by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson is a diverse children's book published by Kokila and imprint of Penguin Rand HouseLLC. The authors stick to the title of African Americans being born on the water and include text about how it occurs. The theme of African Americans being born on the water is fresh, and it alone makes the book worth the read. They begin the story with a school student project, that the main character is unable to complete. She lacks the "The 1619 Project: Born on the Water" by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson is a diverse children's book published by Kokila and imprint of Penguin Rand HouseLLC. The authors stick to the title of African Americans being born on the water and include text about how it occurs. The theme of African Americans being born on the water is fresh, and it alone makes the book worth the read. They begin the story with a school student project, that the main character is unable to complete. She lacks the information and takes her assignment home for assistance. The illustrations by Nikkolas Smith are attractive in a blue a white, and black color scheme, which helps to set the mood of the book. The book is relatively new. It was published this year. It is the children's version of the 1619 project, which was published in the New York Times by award-winning journalist Hannah-Jones several years ago.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    4.5 rounded up This is not your typical children’s book. Hannah-Jones and Watson have masterfully crafted prose and poetry that tell the story of the Black experience and history in the United States. The narratives are shaped for children while being honest, and at times brutal, about the details and consequences of slavery and racism. If you have read The 1619 Project or listened to its sister podcast, much of this content will be familiar to you. Hannah-Jones gives a stunning performance in the 4.5 rounded up This is not your typical children’s book. Hannah-Jones and Watson have masterfully crafted prose and poetry that tell the story of the Black experience and history in the United States. The narratives are shaped for children while being honest, and at times brutal, about the details and consequences of slavery and racism. If you have read The 1619 Project or listened to its sister podcast, much of this content will be familiar to you. Hannah-Jones gives a stunning performance in the audiobook. Yet, unsurprisingly, I really want to read the print version to put the prose along with the illustrations, which of course are lacking in the audiobook. I highly recommend this book. Thank you Libro.Fm and Penguin Random House Audio for the ALC. This book was published November 15, 2021, and is now available to purchase at your favorite independent bookstores.

  30. 5 out of 5

    K

    This book belongs in every single USA classroom, school library, and public library. This is the origin story of a new people, African-Americans. Born on the Water answers an age-old classroom question posed to students, 'where did I come from?' Frankly, I'm a bit in awe of Nikole Hannah Jones and Renee Watson answering this question so masterfully by writing an actual origin story. I think they have made the invisible visible with this book. Prioritize the well-being of every single Black child This book belongs in every single USA classroom, school library, and public library. This is the origin story of a new people, African-Americans. Born on the Water answers an age-old classroom question posed to students, 'where did I come from?' Frankly, I'm a bit in awe of Nikole Hannah Jones and Renee Watson answering this question so masterfully by writing an actual origin story. I think they have made the invisible visible with this book. Prioritize the well-being of every single Black child in the USA by having this book accessible to them. This book is also an important read for white children because it shows them why their country is so racist and why so much healing needs to be done. Each white child will need to ask themselves a question: am I going to be part of the solution or part of the problem? We need them to choose the former so that USA citizens can become one people.

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