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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: historical

Inspired by the true childhood summers of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Donald Soctomah and Jean Flahive’s Remember Me: Tomah Joseph’s Gift to Franklin Roosevelt imagines the 32d POTUS as a boy, and his friendship with Passamaquoddy guide, Tomah Joseph. Roosevelt befriends the former tribe chief while visiting Campobello Island, and receives canoe-paddling lessons from him. During the paddling sessions, Tomah imparts the stories and culture of his people. Besides serving as a guide, Tomah Joseph makes baskets and builds canoes.

Through the years, Roosevelt visits his old friend and on one lesson, he receives a final gift from the craftsman: a hand-made canoe etched with an owl motif. This canoe’s real-life counterpart is on display at the Visitor Center at Roosevelt Campobello International Park.

Written by a Passamadquoddy tribe member, Remember Me is a rich story that blends history and Native American culture paying tribute to a revered tribal elder. The title echoes the message – “mikwid hamin” or “remember me” – Tomah Joseph often featured in his works. Mary Beth Owens’ illustrations are soft, and show the rushing waters of the St. Croix River, marshes, and other locations of the text. I really liked the inclusion of a story of the “Old Time,” the stories of Tomah Joseph’s ancestors. The picture book would be a suitable part of a Native American curriculum.

Title: Remember Me: Tomah Joseph’s Gift to Franklin Roosevelt
Date: June 2009
Publisher: Tilbury House
Pages: 32
Format: Hardback

Additional Resources

TilburyHouse title page – Features thinking questions, historical background, and more.
Communciations New Brunswick – An article on Tomah Joseph
Handkerchief Box – Maine’s ABBE museum piece on one of Joseph’s boxes
National Park Service – PDF booklet of the The As and Bs of Traditional Baskets
Roosevelt Campobello International Park – Park official website
Wabanaki – Passamaquoddy information page
FDR at Campobello – Images and background of FDR’s history at Campobello Island

Copy for review provided by the publisher.