Parents' Guide to

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

By Diondra K. Brown, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Emotional reframing of U.S. history, slavery, and rebirth.

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 1 parent review

age 6+

We're a white family in a semi-diverse neighborhood, but all of the educators at my kids school are white. My 4th grader is learning about this subject in school and I think it's best to learn about subjects from the people personally affected by them. It was pretty raw but my 6yo was mesmerized by the storytelling and my 9yo was constantly interrupting to add things he learned in school. No mentions of sex, violence, drugs etc, ( so far) although there are some frank depictions of segregation and racism circa 1930-60. I think this is important viewing and I'm glad we did.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate