Soctomah, D. & Flahive, J. (2009). Remember Me: Tomah Joseph's Gift to Franklin Roosevelt. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House, Publishers.
In the vain of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, Remember Me shares a story of a ten-year-old Franklin Roosevelt while his family spends the summer on Campobello Island. Franklin goes on a canoe trips with Tomah Joseph, an elder of the Passamaquoddy tribe. The future president learns about nature and the experiences, stories and culture of the tribe.
The story includes a story within a story, a traditional Passamaquoddy tale.
This picturebook includes many colorful and realistic illustrations. In the artwork Franklin appears to be freakishly white and ghostly...but, I'm guessing that's an authentic representation.
The book is on the text-heavy side, but that would still work as a read aloud or a shared reading experience.
While the story has a classic feel and shows a President in a new light, I wasn't too big a fan of putting imagined thoughts into the mind of a person who actually lived. But then, I'm a somewhat-annoying purist like that. Another potential critique is of the general characterization of a minority figure who helps the younger white boy understand the world in a new way, while said minority figure labors on.
As students study American history and President Franklin Roosevelt, this book could be used to provide a new insight into the president and the far from ideal relationship the government has had with Native Americans. This book could be used to break down stereotypes many younger students have about Native Americans. More specifically, students could research the Passamaquoddy tribe and the history of Maine.
This book could also be used with children preparing to go on their first canoeing trip to help prepare them for what to expect and how to handle the boat. From there, a teacher could discuss the way pollution has damaged the wildlife in and around ponds, rivers, lakes, and the oceans.
Remember Me may appeal especially to children just learning how to whittle or who have taken an interest in wood work.
Quotes of Note:
"Franklin ran down the hillside and onto the beach, his eyes searching the bay. The wet sand cooled his bare feet as the waves splashed over his toes. He smiled to himself and thought, "Today Tomah Joesephwill teach me how to paddle a canoe."
"Now many Indians make their living as fishing and hunting guides. They help summer visitors like us, who come to Campobello Island."
"Franklin watched the porpoises swim so close he could almost reach out and touch them. Tomah Joseph explained that porpoises are sacred in the Passamaquoddy culture. "They have saved my people from starvation countless times. But we never hunt more than we need."
"Is that what pictures are--stories?" Franklin asked.
Tomah Joseph smiled. "Yes, each picture tells a story of the Old Time."