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The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

Illustrated by Nikkolas Smith
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Best Seller
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.

 
And the people planted dreams and hope,
willed themselves to keep
living, living.
 
And the people learned new words
for love
for friend
for family

for joy
for grow
for home.
 
With powerful verse and striking illustrations by Nikkolas Smith, Born on the Water provides a pathway for readers of all ages to reflect on the origins of American identity.
Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and creator of the landmark 1619 Project. In 2017, she received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, known as the Genius Grant, for her work on educational inequality. She has also won a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, three National Magazine Awards, and the 2018 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism from Columbia University. In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization geared toward increasing the number of investigative reporters of color. View titles by Nikole Hannah-Jones
Nikkolas Smith is an Artivist, picture book author, and Hollywood film illustrator. He is the author-illustrator of The Golden Girls of Rio and My Hair Is Poofy & That’s Okay. He also illustrated the picture books I Am Ruby Bridges, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: The Courage to Dream, That Flag, and the New York Times bestselling The 1619 Project: Born on the Water. Many of Nikkolas’s viral and globally published sketches that have sparked important conversations and inspired meaningful change are included in his book Sunday Sketch: The Art of Nikkolas. He speaks on his Artivism at conferences, workplaces, and schools around the world, and he also leads workshops about digital painting. Born in Houston, Texas, Nikkolas lives in Los Angeles, California. Learn more here: NIKKOLAS.art View titles by Nikkolas Smith
Educator Guide for The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller 
An NPR Best Book of 2021
A TIME Magazine Best Children's Book of 2021
A Barnes & Noble Book of the Year finalist 
A Barnes & Noble Best Picture Book of 2021
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2021
A School Library Journal Best Nonfiction Book of 2021 
A New York Public Library Best Book for Kids 2021
An Evanston Public Library Great Book for Kids 2021: Poetry
A Chicago Public Library Best Informational Book for Older Readers of 2021
A News & Observer Best Book of 2021
An American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) Blog Best Book of 2021
An Amazon Best of November: Ages 6-8 of 2021 
An Amazon Best children’s book of 2021: Ages 6 to 8
A 2022 ILA Notable Books for a Global Society Award Winner 
A “022 Irma S. Black Award Silver Medalist
A 2022 Bank Street College The Best Children’s Books of the Year 
A 2022 AAMBC Literary Award Nominee
A 2022 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Children’s Poetry Winner 
A 2022 NCTE/CLA Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Award Winner 
A 2022 SDUSMP Phillis Wheatley Book Award Winner 
A Seattle’s Child Best Book of 2022
A King County Library System Best Children's Book of 2022
A 2022 Cybils Award Winner (blog) 
An American Library Association 2022 Notable Children's Book
A 2021 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Best of the Best 
A 2022 NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book 
An Indiana Read Aloud Selection 
A Maine Student Book Award Selection 
A Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Selection 
A Capitol Choices (DC) Master List Title 
A Volunteer State (TN) Book Award Selection 

PRAISE FOR THE 1619 PROJECT: BORN ON THE WATER


"A gift to Black Americans and everyone else who reads it." ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Black history is not merely a story of slavery and suffering but one of perseverance and hope." ―Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"A stunning work, providing a glimpse into the history of the Black experience before and after the slave trade; the poetic language and breathtaking artwork will have a lasting effect on readers." ―School Library Journal, starred review

"Written in lovely and loving verse, with dynamic, expressive, and expansive illustrations that convey the emotional journey of a resilient people, this book provides a moving, informative answer to an essential question." ―Horn Book, starred review

About

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.

 
And the people planted dreams and hope,
willed themselves to keep
living, living.
 
And the people learned new words
for love
for friend
for family

for joy
for grow
for home.
 
With powerful verse and striking illustrations by Nikkolas Smith, Born on the Water provides a pathway for readers of all ages to reflect on the origins of American identity.

Author

Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and creator of the landmark 1619 Project. In 2017, she received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, known as the Genius Grant, for her work on educational inequality. She has also won a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, three National Magazine Awards, and the 2018 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism from Columbia University. In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization geared toward increasing the number of investigative reporters of color. View titles by Nikole Hannah-Jones
Nikkolas Smith is an Artivist, picture book author, and Hollywood film illustrator. He is the author-illustrator of The Golden Girls of Rio and My Hair Is Poofy & That’s Okay. He also illustrated the picture books I Am Ruby Bridges, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: The Courage to Dream, That Flag, and the New York Times bestselling The 1619 Project: Born on the Water. Many of Nikkolas’s viral and globally published sketches that have sparked important conversations and inspired meaningful change are included in his book Sunday Sketch: The Art of Nikkolas. He speaks on his Artivism at conferences, workplaces, and schools around the world, and he also leads workshops about digital painting. Born in Houston, Texas, Nikkolas lives in Los Angeles, California. Learn more here: NIKKOLAS.art View titles by Nikkolas Smith

Guides

Educator Guide for The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Praise

An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller 
An NPR Best Book of 2021
A TIME Magazine Best Children's Book of 2021
A Barnes & Noble Book of the Year finalist 
A Barnes & Noble Best Picture Book of 2021
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2021
A School Library Journal Best Nonfiction Book of 2021 
A New York Public Library Best Book for Kids 2021
An Evanston Public Library Great Book for Kids 2021: Poetry
A Chicago Public Library Best Informational Book for Older Readers of 2021
A News & Observer Best Book of 2021
An American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) Blog Best Book of 2021
An Amazon Best of November: Ages 6-8 of 2021 
An Amazon Best children’s book of 2021: Ages 6 to 8
A 2022 ILA Notable Books for a Global Society Award Winner 
A “022 Irma S. Black Award Silver Medalist
A 2022 Bank Street College The Best Children’s Books of the Year 
A 2022 AAMBC Literary Award Nominee
A 2022 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Children’s Poetry Winner 
A 2022 NCTE/CLA Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Award Winner 
A 2022 SDUSMP Phillis Wheatley Book Award Winner 
A Seattle’s Child Best Book of 2022
A King County Library System Best Children's Book of 2022
A 2022 Cybils Award Winner (blog) 
An American Library Association 2022 Notable Children's Book
A 2021 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Best of the Best 
A 2022 NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book 
An Indiana Read Aloud Selection 
A Maine Student Book Award Selection 
A Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Selection 
A Capitol Choices (DC) Master List Title 
A Volunteer State (TN) Book Award Selection 

PRAISE FOR THE 1619 PROJECT: BORN ON THE WATER


"A gift to Black Americans and everyone else who reads it." ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Black history is not merely a story of slavery and suffering but one of perseverance and hope." ―Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"A stunning work, providing a glimpse into the history of the Black experience before and after the slave trade; the poetic language and breathtaking artwork will have a lasting effect on readers." ―School Library Journal, starred review

"Written in lovely and loving verse, with dynamic, expressive, and expansive illustrations that convey the emotional journey of a resilient people, this book provides a moving, informative answer to an essential question." ―Horn Book, starred review

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According to a report in Chalkbeat, elementary school students at P.S. 125 in Harlem recently read The 1619 Project: Born on the Water and had the opportunity to meet with the books’ co-authors, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson. Born on the Water is a lyrical picture book in verse that chronicles the consequences of slavery and

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