The 1619 Project: Born on the Water
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water
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Annotation: The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resista... more
Catalog Number: #306720
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Illustrator: Smith, Nikkolas,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-593-30735-6 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-0721-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-593-30735-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-0721-8
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2021034692
Dimensions: 23 cm
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
A young, unnamed Black girl is ashamed that she can't complete a school genealogy project because she can only trace her family history back three generations. When she shares her problem with her grandmother, the woman calls the whole family together and tells them the story of their history, beginning hundreds of years earlier in the West-Central African kingdom of Ndongo, where their ancestors lived an idyllic life, described in the coauthors' heartfelt poems and captured in apposite, full-color representational pictures. The story takes a dark turn when the Portuguese arrive, kidnap Ndongo's people, and put them, chained, in the hold of the White Lion to transport them to Virginia, where they are enslaved. The coauthors bring necessary expertise to this important story and celebrate the resilient spirit that informed these individuals' lives. Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, conceived The New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project, while Watson is a Newbery Honor Book author. Together, they capture essential facets of and variety within Black experiences in America.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The relevancy of the topic and clout of The New York Times will put this powerhouse title on everyone's radar.
Kirkus Reviews
A celebration of Black Americans for young readers, derived from Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project.Told in a series of poems that create a narrative, the story opens with a young Black girl given a school assignment to trace her ancestry. Despondent, she tells her grandmother about her shame at being unable to complete the assignment. Grandma then tells the story of their ancestors. Refreshingly, that story starts pre-enslavement, in West Central Africa: “Their story does not begin / with whips and chains. / They had a home, a place, a land, / a beginning. / … / Before they were enslaved, they were / free.” Several spreads are dedicated to celebrating the ancestors’ language, skilled hands, sharp minds, joyful hearts, and amazing dancing. When enslavement enters the narrative, authors and illustrator strike a balance between presenting an honest picture and consideration for young readers. Smith’s evocative, vibrant art is full of emotion and motion. Colors and images speak volumes, while characters are portrayed with dignity, even in the worst circumstances. A significant portion of the story focuses on this period and how the ancestors survived and made a home in the United States. Poems “Resistance” and “Legacy” round out the narrative until reaching a conclusion for the character the book opened with in “Pride.” Compression of 400-plus years of history leads to some oversimplification, but overall it is a tremendous achievement.(This book was reviewed digitally.)A gift to Black Americans and everyone else who reads it. (authors' note, illustrator's note) (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A celebration of Black Americans for young readers, derived from Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project.Told in a series of poems that create a narrative, the story opens with a young Black girl given a school assignment to trace her ancestry. Despondent, she tells her grandmother about her shame at being unable to complete the assignment. Grandma then tells the story of their ancestors. Refreshingly, that story starts pre-enslavement, in West Central Africa: “Their story does not begin / with whips and chains. / They had a home, a place, a land, / a beginning. / … / Before they were enslaved, they were / free.” Several spreads are dedicated to celebrating the ancestors’ language, skilled hands, sharp minds, joyful hearts, and amazing dancing. When enslavement enters the narrative, authors and illustrator strike a balance between presenting an honest picture and consideration for young readers. Smith’s evocative, vibrant art is full of emotion and motion. Colors and images speak volumes, while characters are portrayed with dignity, even in the worst circumstances. A significant portion of the story focuses on this period and how the ancestors survived and made a home in the United States. Poems “Resistance” and “Legacy” round out the narrative until reaching a conclusion for the character the book opened with in “Pride.” Compression of 400-plus years of history leads to some oversimplification, but overall it is a tremendous achievement.(This book was reviewed digitally.)A gift to Black Americans and everyone else who reads it. (authors' note, illustrator's note) (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)
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Kirkus Reviews
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 2-5

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.


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