The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith

Published by Kokila

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water: Hannah-Jones, Nikole, Watson, Renée,  Smith, Nikkolas: 9780593307359: Amazon.com: Books
The 1619 Project (Picture Book): Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones  and Renée Watson

Summary:  In the first poem, titled “Questions”, a girl gets an assignment to trace her roots and realizes she can only go back three generations. At home, she asks her grandmother for help.  Her grandmother gathers the family together and tells them their story, beginning with their ancestors in West Central Africa who were kidnapped in 1619 and forced on a hellish journey aboard a slave ship.  Those who survived were forced into slavery in tobacco fields, fighting to hold onto their memories of home.  Their descendants went on to become great people in their new country.  By the end of the story, the girl is ready to return to school and finish her story; the final poem is called “Pride”.  Includes notes from the authors and the illustrator and the website for the 1619 Project.  48 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  The award-winning authors have crafted an empowering collection of poems that doesn’t shy away from harsh histories, but also celebrates an African history that is often overlooked.

Cons:  I wish there were more resources listed; the 1619 Project website has books connected to the project, but no others.

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