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Summary

The 1619 Project’s 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.

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 listeners of all ages to reflect on the origins of American identity.

©2021 Nikole Hannah-Jones (P)2021 Listening Library

Critic reviews

#1 New York Times Bestseller!

An Amazon Best of the Year 2021

A Time Magazine Best Children’s Books of 2021

A NPR Best Books of the Year 2021

A School Library Journal Best Books of 2021

A NYPL Best Books 2021

A Chicago Public Library Best Books 2021

A Barnes & Noble Best Picture Book of 2021

A Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 2021

A News & Observer Best Books of 2021

An Amazon Best Book of the Month

A New York Public Library Best Book of 2021

A Barnes & Noble Book of the Year finalist

A 2022 Irma S. Black Award Contender

A 2022 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Winner

A 2022 NCTE/CLA Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Award Winner

A 2022 SDUSMP Phillis Wheatley Book Award in the Children's (Ages 0-17) Non-fiction Category

A 2022 AAMBC Literary Award Nominee 

"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

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  • Jen
  • 26-01-22

Heartbreaking but not Broken

How many teachers assign the “heritage” or family tree unit without an understanding of what they are asking of children who should not have to explain or describe a history that is personal and for many, painful. So many family-trees chopped at the knees in history and brought to knees in the classroom. This story should be required reading for all teachers and the family tree and heritage project and standards need to be totally reconsidered.

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  • Gail D.
  • 04-01-22

Very informative short story

Excellent in every way. Recommend highly for all ages. Good overview of Black history

1 person found this helpful

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  • Denise
  • 05-12-21

Awesome

Exceptional children book that should be read by all Americans. Fantastic literary work of African American History.

1 person found this helpful

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  • tj
  • 16-11-21

Great book much needed

Very beautifully Written love nikole Hannah jones keep up the good work thank you for this book
It was much needed

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-06-22

Sample review

the 1619 project born on the water the 1619 project born on the water the 1619 project born on the water the 1619 project born on the water the 1619 project born on the water the 1619 project born on the water the 1619 project born on the waterthe 1619 project born on the water

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-06-22

T45 RNB to Gift membership: M

great dddddddddddddddddddd asdfsdf asdfsdf adfadf addf adsf dddd ddd ddd ddd ddd ddd ddd ddd ddd d

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  • Johnetta Kollie
  • 12-06-22

Oh wow; I’m so honored to know the stories

I love this book because it makes sense so much now. This was a great book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-05-22

Beautifully written

I think this book will cause us to ask more questions about our full history

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  • Donna Fuller
  • 20-05-22

Our roots.

Loved the storyline. Just wished it was longer. I'm a visual person, so if was easy to see what they were reading.

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  • MM
  • 29-04-22

LEARN & GROW NOW EVERYONE

Not to be Missed, or OVERLOOKED, or Judged by ANYONE. A Must Read for EVERYONE!