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Our February Book of the Month: The 1619 Project: Born on the water

The Spark Foundation was founded on the belief that students of all backgrounds deserve to see themselves and their community accurately reflected in the books that they read. Since our founding, Spark has been determined to provide a diverse selection of titles that not only celebrate who we are as people, but also do not shy away from hard truths. As city and state governments work in coordinated attacks to police and criminalize what can and cannot be taught in the classroom, we feel that it is more important than ever to ensure our donors, sponsors, and partners in the schools know that we stand committed to our goal.

Our February Book of the Month, the 1619 Project: “Born on the Water,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones tells the all too familiar story of a young black girl tasked with learning about her heritage, only to realize that she can’t learn much on her own due to the horrors of slavery. It is only when her grandmother sits the family down to talk about life in Africa before the slave trade, the middle passage, slavery, and emancipation that she is able to understand who she is and the heritage that came before her.

We selected “Born on the Water” as our February book of the month because it is a story that most African American children can relate to and that every student can learn from. Unfortunately, the 1619 Project has been vilified by a segment of the public that is ignorant of its message or (and potentially much worse) have chosen to ban this book due to the importance of its content. Either way, The Spark Foundation is proud to work with local educators and Storyhouse Bookpub to pass out over 200 copies of the book to the fourth-grade students of Moulton and Riverwoods elementary schools.

Fourth-grade students attending Moulton and Riverwood elementary schools can stop by Storyhouse Bookpub, 505 E Grand Ave Suite 102, Des Moines, IA, or email Akil at to learn how you can get your free book!

From the desk of Akil Clark President and Founder of Spark Foundation

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