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Remember Me: Tomah Joseph's Gift to Franklin…

Remember Me: Tomah Joseph's Gift to Franklin Roosevelt

by Donald Soctomah, Jean Flahive

Other authors: Mary Beth Owens (Illustrator)

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt - whose presidency is one of the most celebrated in American history - spent his youth summering on Canada's Campobello Island, where his family maintained a vacation home. It was here that he was befriended by Passamaquoddy elder and artist, Tomah Joseph, who was his companion and canoeing instructor, and who, in later years, carved a beautiful birchbark canoe for the young man, inscribed with the phrase Mikwid hamin (remember me). This canoe can still be seen, at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.

I enjoyed Remember Me - written by Donald Soctomah, the Passamaquoddy Tribe's representative in the Maine State Legislature, and Jean Flahive, a sometime consultant to the Passamaquoddy Tribe - but I couldn't help wishing that we knew more about this story. That Roosevelt and Joseph knew one another, and that Joseph gifted a canoe to Roosevelt, is well documented, but the actual interactions between the two - the lessons in Passamaquoddy history and culture passed on by Joseph - are pure conjecture, something the authors acknowledge in their brief prefatory remarks. Did Roosevelt never comment upon his relationship with Joseph? Is there no written documentation, no record of what they discussed? Reading this lovely picture-book, with its quiet, smooth-flowing narrative, and appealing illustrations, makes me wonder... ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 12, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a beautifully illustrated book about the friendship between two very different people. I think it is very important that the author of the book is Passamaquoddy and the book is thus based on First Nations oral history, because it gives the interpretation of the relationship a validity and truth that an outside author could not have achieved.

I think this book is more suitable for older readers than for the typical age 4-8 picture book audience. It could find a place on anyone's bookshelf with other books about First Nations people or with Presidential biographies. ( )
  muumi | Nov 2, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Remember me is set in Campobello Island New Brunswick where Franklin D. Roosevelt's family had a summer home. Remember me is a fictionalized account of the story of Roosevelt's friendship with Tomah Joseph starting at age 10. Tomah Joseph is a member of the Passamaquoddy tribe who was hired by Roosevelt's father to teach him how to paddle a canoe.

Along the way, Tomah Joseph teaches Roosevelt a lot about the history of the Passamaquoddy Indians and their traditions. There is also a lot of information about Franklin D.Roosevelt's early life.

This is a sensitively written story about a friendship which lasts until Joseph's death when Roosevelt is a young man and tells about how Roosevelt came to acquire his canoe (a gift from Joseph) which is still on display at the Roosevelt's family home. This book would most likely be interesting for children around grade 3 to 5. ( )
  mmhorman | Jun 21, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This can be a tricky book to read as it treads a line between fiction and biography. While the two subjects, Tomah Joseph and FDR, did know each other and certain exchanges are a matter of historical record, other exchanges (including much of the dialogue) are the result of authorial speculation. This is addressed well in the flyleaf, but not much within the body of the story. The story has some great themes around growing up/aging, respect for cultures, and the contributions of elders/teachers to character growth. The illustrations are also lovely.

The themes of the story make it well worth reading , but any reading should include the flyleafs so that the readers can think for themselves about the dividing lines between history, historical fiction, and the use of history to teach moral lessons. Suggested ages: 7 and up.
  marnocat | Nov 8, 2009 |
Remember Me is about Franklin Roosevelt's childhood at his summer home at Campobello Island. Roosevelt spends most days with Tomah Josheph who used to be chief of the Passamaquoddy tribe. Tomah Joseph teaches Roosevelt how to canoe along with several other Native American traditions. When Franklin grows up, Tomah Joseph gives Roosevelt his canoe and tells him that he will one day he will lead many people. Franklin Roosevelt never sees Tomah Joseph again, and he eventually becomes the president of the United States.

I like this book becuase it is interesting to know what important people in the world were like before they became important. There are a ton of books out there about Roosevelt, but this book was so different than all of the others. This was about his childhood, not his presidency. I think this book would get kids interested in Roosevelt.

This would be a good book to use to learn about Native American culture. The kids could draw canoes with their "spirit animal" on it. Also, this would be a good introduction to a lesson on Franklin Roosevelt. There are some interesting facts in this book about him. Also it would be good to use to help kids relate to someone of that much importance.
  LaurenAllard | Oct 28, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Donald Soctomahprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flahive, Jeanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Owens, Mary BethIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0884483002, Hardcover)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the man who would become the thirty-second president of the United States, joyfuly spent his boyhood summers on Campobello Island. IThere that he met Tomah Joseph, a Passamaquoddy elder and former chief who made his living as a guide, birchbark canoe builder, and basketmaker. Authors Soctomah and Flahive imagine the relationship that developed between these two as Tomah Joseph taught young Franklin how to canoe and shared some of the stories and culture of his people. A beautifully decorated birchbark canoe that he made for Franklin remains at Campobello Island, a tangible reminder of this special friendship.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:44 -0400)

Spending his childhood summers on Campobello Island, young Franklin Delano Roosevelt learns how to canoe from Tomah Joseph, a respected fishing and canoe guide, basketmaker and canoe-builder, and former chief of his tribe, who also teaches Franklin about the Passamaquoddy culture.… (more)

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