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1619 Project Born On The Water

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The 1619 Project: Born on the Water | Book Trailer
  • Families can talk about how The 1619 Project: Born on the Water starts with a little girl who doesn’t know how to complete a school assignment, because she can only trace her family back three generations. Have you ever had unanswered questions about your family? Did it make you feel ashamed or embarrassed? Who were you able to ask for help to get answers?

  • What’s something new you learned about the history of African Americans while reading the book? Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve learned with your friends and family.

  • Draw a family tree with your loved ones. It’s OK if you don’t know everything about your family’s history. Try to find a trusted a adult who can answer your questions.

  • Publication date: November 16, 2021
  • Number of pages: 48
  • Available on: Nook, Audiobook , Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • : November 15, 2021
  • Vibrant celebration of heroes in African American history.

    age 5+

  • Emotional book ties 500-year history to Kwanzaa principles.

    age 7+

  • Poetic tribute to African American heroes and struggles.

    age 6+

  • Poetic declaration to children that their lives matter.

    age 5+

Is It Any Good

This is an exquisite retelling of American history that highlights the legacy of slavery and Black resistance. Written as a series of poems, The 1619 Project: Born on the Water is an emotional read. Nikkolas Smith’s accompanying rich and engaging illustrations evoke the mood of the words ” vibrant energy, some more chaotic and messy, some more peaceful.” This is an important book for children, particularly young Black children, that teaches American history through a different lens. Some descriptions and depictions of violence may be difficult for young readers. Themes of the power of hope and love as well as the importance of freedom and equality are present throughout the book.

Publishers Weeklyoct 11 2021

When a Black child, this story’s narrator, feels shame surrounding a family tree assignment , their parents and grandparents offer what an author’s note calls “a proud origin story.” In meticulous, forthright poems by Newbery Honoree Watson and 1619 Project founder Hannah-Jones, the family reaches back to the Kingdom of Ndongo, where their ancestors “had a home, a place, a land,/ a beginning.” Subsequent spreads describe the child’s West Central African forbears, who spoke Kimbundu , were good with their hands and minds, excelled at math and science, “and they danced.” When the lines recount how, in 1619, those ancestors were shackled and ferried across the Atlantic to Virginia on the White Lion, the authors clearly but non-graphically confront the horror of chattel slavery, emphasizing the resilience of the enslaved people who survived this impossible journey. Alternating between realistic and surreal images, Smith works in a saturated palette to create emotionally evocative scenes: dark, mostly monochrome tableaus convey tragedy or violence brightly lit, multicolor palettes illustrate scenes of peace and joy. While detailing the specifics of an often-obscured history and its effects, this volume powerfully emphasizes that Black history is not merely a story of slavery and suffering but one of perseverance and hope. Ages 7 10.

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Penguin Random House Audio

The 1619 Projects lyrical picture book in verse, adapted for audio, 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.And the people planted dreams and hope,willed themselves to keepAnd the people learned new wordsfor lovefor home.Born on the Water#1 New York Times Bestseller!An Amazon Best of the Year 2021A Time Magazine Best Childrens Books of 2021A NPR Best Books of the Year 2021A School Library Journal Best Books of 2021A NYPL Best Books 2021A Chicago Public Library Best Books 2021A Barnes & Noble Best Picture Book of 2021A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2021A News & Observer Best Books of 2021An Amazon Best Book of the MonthA New York Public Library Best Book of 2021A Barnes & Noble Book of the Year finalistA 2022 Irma S. Black Award ContenderA 2022 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award WinnerA 2022 NCTE/CLA Notable Childrens Books in the Language Arts Award WinnerA 2022 SDUSMP Phillis Wheatley Book Award in the Children’s Non-fiction CategoryA a 2022 AAMBC Literary Award NomineePRAISE FOR THE 1619 PROJECT: BORN ON THE WATERKirkus ReviewsPublisher’s WeeklySchool Library JournalHorn Book

What Parents Need To Know

The 1619 Project

Parents need to know that The 1619 Project: Born on the Water was co-written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery Honoree Renée Watson , based on The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, HannahJones’award-winning The New York Times Magazine piece of journalism that reframes the narrative of U.S. history and slavery. This picture book presents the most meaningful themes and facts for young readers in a developmentally appropriate and poetic way for younger readers. It’s an emotional and important read that highlights Black resistance, the often untold history of Africa, and the legacy of slavery.

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The 1619 Project: Nyt Magazine Publication

The 1619 Project was inaugurated with a special issue of The New York Times Magazine in August 2019. It includes essays by journalists and historians, as well as original creative works that bring to life consequential moments in U.S. history. Accompanying the writing are

  • A broadsheet with primary source documents and artifacts curated by Mary Elliott, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • A K-8 section of the NYT about the lasting impact of slavery in the United States

Teaching Tip: Classrooms studying journalism, writing, and media can talk about what it means for journalists and scholars to review and update their work by comparing essays in the original publication and with their expansions in A New Origin Story. They can also investigate how Born on the Water synthesizes the facts, events, and themes laid out clearly in this publication and weaves them together in a narrative form for younger audiences.

Interact with the original 1619 Project in a dynamic way on the NYT Magazine website or read through the full PDF of the publication. The Pulitzer Center curricular resources developed for the original magazine publication are available at this link.

The 1619 Project Born On The Water Educators Guide

Grades PK – 13+ AIS – Literacy Arts Computer Science English Language Arts Health Mathematics Physical Education Science Social and Emotional Learning Social Studies

The educators guide to Born on the Water, could be used at elementary and secondary levels, and there are distinctions between how you might work with younger students versus older ones. The questions posed in the lesson plans, are not always specific to Born on the Water. They may be used with almost any text, as it teaches students to think in ways that are generative and transferable. Teaching students to ask questions that they can ask of any text, including the text that is the world, empowers them to think deeply, whether or not they are in the presence of their teachers and caregivers.

Students will need a reading notebook that they are already using or a notebook or folder where they can keep all of their work from this unit and they will experience reading as a meaningful opportunity to think deeply and engage in authentic, transformative conversation.

The Born on the Water text can be found at the Citywide Digital Library on Sora where all users have single sign-on with NYC DOE credentials.

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The 1619 Project: Born On The Water Summary

These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community.We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own.

The 1619 Project: Born on Water is a collection of interconnected free verse poems that make up an entire story. In the first poem called Questions the speaker is a young African-American schoolgirl. She gets an assignment in school to tell about her ancestors, to tell where she came from. The girls only knows the history reaching back to the last three generations in her family, so she leaves her paper blank. At home, she explains to her grandma what happened at school. The grandma gathers the whole family to tell them about their beginnings.

In the next poem called What Grandma Tells Me begins the story about the girls ancestry. Grandma reveals that before their people were enslaved in 1619 and brought there on the White Lion, they were free people with their own language, culture and land. In the poem They Had a Language the speaker of the poem/grandma reveals that their people had a language called Kimbundu and the land was called The Kingdom of Ndongo nestled between the Lukala and the Kwanza Rivers in West Central Africa. Then she explains about the culture and their knowledge of farming, trade, math and science.

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I Too Arts Collective

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water (Read Aloud)

When Watson first moved to New York and explored Harlem landmarks, she was disappointed to learn that the former home of author Langston Hughes was not open to the public. In 2016, after growing concerned that the historical home may be lost to gentrification, Watson found the current owner and shared her vision to open up the home to visitors. The owner agreed if Watson could afford to lease the brownstone, and in just 30 days, Watson raised the necessary money by starting the fundraising campaign #LangstonsLegacy.

Watson founded the I, Too, Arts Collective named after the famous Langston Hughes’ poem, “.” The board of the nonprofit decided that Hughes’ former brownstone should not be turned into a museum, but should be a creative space for the Harlem community. Since opening the space to the public in 2017, the collective provides creative arts programs such as poetry workshops and drum classes for children and adults. They also host a range of literary events such as book launch parties and readings.

Watson originally hoped to raise enough money to buy the landmark and renovate the second floor. She wanted to provide fellowships for out-of-town artists to stay in the house in exchange for providing creative workshops to the community.

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University Of North Carolina

In April 2021, the University of North Carolina announced Hannah-Jones would join the in July 2021 as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. Following criticism, particularly from conservative groups who expressed disagreement with the 1619 Project and questioned Hannah-Jones’s credentials, the University Board of Trustees, presented with the tenure committee’s recommendation to approve her application for tenure, instead took no action. Unable to offer tenure without approval by its trustees, UNC announced they would instead offer a fixed five-year contract with an option for tenure reviewâterms to which Hannah-Jones agreed.

Teaching The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project is rich in resources. We hope that this page helps to clarify how all aspects of the project might be utilized in your teaching and learning goals.

This guidance on using The 1619 Project cohesively is adapted from an extensive Educator Guide to the 1619 books created by Pulitzer Center staff in partnership with Penguin Random House. .

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The 1619 Project: Born On The Water

Year 2021

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 keepAnd the people learned new wordsfor lovefor home. With powerful verse and striking illustrations, Born on the Water provides a pathway for readers of all ages to reflect on the origins of American identity by chronicling the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the U.S.

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