Virtual Event: Nikkolas Smith and Namrata Tripathi launch THE 1619 PROJECT: BORN ON THE WATER in conversation with Jason Reynolds

Crossposted at Young People’s Pavilion

BORN ON THE WATER isn’t just a reframing of American history; it reframes how children, especially Black children, are taught their own history.” – Essence

Celebrate the launch of THE 1619 PROJECT: BORN ON THE WATER!

Join Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and The Lit. Bar for a virtual event on Thursday, November 18 @ 7:30PM ET with illustrator Nikkolas Smith and editor Namrata Tripathi in conversation with National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds.

Phenomenal, the media and merchandising company founded by Meena Harris, has chosen THE 1619 PROJECT: BORN ON THE WATER and THE 1619 PROJECT: A NEW ORIGIN STORY as their inaugural pick for the recently launched Phenomenal Book Club!

Join Phenomenal Book Club for a virtual event with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Nikole Hannah-Jones and illustrator Nikkolas Smith in conversation with Meena Harris to learn more about the inspiration behind the book on Saturday, November 20 @ 5PM ET.


A Barnes & Noble “Book of the Year” finalist

A Barnes & Noble “Best Picture Book of 2021”

Publishers Weekly “Best Book of 2021

 A celebration of Black Americans for young readers, derived from Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project…Smith’s evocative, vibrant art is full of emotion and motion…Overall it is a tremendous achievement.” – Kirkus, starred review

★ “Written in lovely and loving verse, with dynamicexpressive, 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

★ “While detailing the specifics of an often-obscured history and its effects, thisvolume powerfully emphasizes that Black history is not merely a story of slavery and suffering but one of perseverance and hope.” Publishers Weekly

 “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

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, Newbery Honor–winning author Renée Watson, and artivist Nikkolas Smith.

The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project is an award-winning reframing of U.S. history that placed the legacy of slavery and Black resistance at the center of the national narrative. It has been one of the most consequential works of journalism of this era: read by millions and studied in classrooms worldwide.

THE 1619 PROJECT: BORN ON THE WATER recounts the rich history of the enslaved African people who built America in a story that begins when a young Black student receives a family tree assignment that makes her ashamed that she doesn’t know what country her people come from and can only trace back three generations. So 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. The student learns how the people said to be born on the water survived. 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 centering the brutalities of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans.

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. Hannah-Jones is the Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University, where she has founded the Center for Journalism and Democracy. In 2021, she was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.

Renée Watson is a New York Times bestselling author. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together, received a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Award. Her books for young readers include Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and Ways to Make Sunshine, which received the SCBWI Golden Kite Award. She has given readings and lectures at many renowned places including the United Nations, the Library of Congress, and the U.S. embassy in Japan and New Zealand. Renée is on the Council of Writers for the National Writing Project and is a member of the Academy of American Poets’ Education Advisory Council. Renée grew up in Portland, Oregon, and splits her time between Portland and New York City. To learn more about Renée’s work, visit her at

Nikkolas Smith is a Houston, Texas–born Artivist, picture book author, and Hollywood film illustrator. He is the author-illustrator of The Golden Girls of Rio, nominated for an NAACP Image Award, My Hair Is Poofy & That’s Okay, and World Cup Women. As a Black illustrator, Nikkolas is focused on creating captivating art that can spark important conversations around social justice in today’s world and inspire meaningful change. Many of his viral, globally shared and published sketches are included in his book Sunday Sketch: The Art of Nikkolas. Nikkolas also speaks on his Artivism at conferences, workplaces, and schools around the world, and leads workshops in digital painting, character, and movie poster design. He lives in Los Angeles, California. Learn more here:

(Kokila; 9780593307359; on sale November 16, 2021; $18.99; ages 7-10)


One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s