Remember Me, Mikwid Hamin: Tomah Joseph's Gift to Franklin Roosevelt

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
One of the authors, Donald Soctomah, is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and is a representative for his tribe on the Maine State Legislature. Tomah Joseph, also a member of the Passamaquoddy tribe, is the one who befriended Franklin Roosevelt when he was a young boy. There is a great deal of information written about Roosevelt, but this particular story about his childhood is touching. Every summer when the Roosevelt family went up to their summer cottage on Campobello Island, Franklin spent a part of his summer with Tomah Joseph learning about the Passamaquoddy culture and how to canoe. In addition to teaching Franklin how to paddle a canoe, he taught him what goes into making a canoe, respect for Native people, and respect for nature. Tomah Joseph told him about how each clan has an animal who is their protector, a spirit helper. Once he learned of this Franklin wanted to know which animal was his protector. Tomah Joseph told him that he must be patient. Years later he was presented with a gift from Tomah Joseph, which revealed his spirit helper. This is a wonderful story that provides young children an opportunity to accurately learn about and respect the culture of Native people. Reviewer: Leila Toledo
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Inspired by a hand-carved canoe at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, the authors tell the story of its maker and his relationship with the future president. Tomah Joseph, a Passamaquoddy elder and former tribal chief, was a guide and mentor to young Franklin, whose family summered on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada. Through the years, the elder imparts his knowledge to the eager boy about the "old way of living," including birchbark-canoe making, sweetgrass gathering, and basket weaving. Tomah Joseph often inscribed his artistic work with the phrase Mikwid hamin (remember me) and ultimately presented a canoe to Roosevelt as a gift. While rife with Native American cultural history and tradition, the fictional recounting of events is heavy-handed and wordy, making the narrative and dialogue seem forced. The soft watercolor illustrations adequately capture the island atmosphere but (with the exception of a rollicking canoe scene) lack action as repeated pages depict Tomah Joseph and Franklin in thoughtful conversation. Quiet and well-intended, this book could potentially be used as a supplement to a classroom unit on Native culture, biography, and perhaps local history. As a picture-book story, it's not particularly memorable.—Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
As a boy, Franklin Roosevelt spent summers at the family "cottage" on Campobello Island, nestled in the waters off Maine and New Brunswick. There he made the acquaintance of Tomah Joseph, a former chief of the Passamaquoddy tribe who made his living in later life as a guide. Vignettes imagine Tomah Joseph teaching the future president how to paddle a canoe, showing him how to gather sweetgrass for a basket, telling him stories and, when Roosevelt was a young man, giving him a birchbark canoe (which now rests on display at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park museum and inspired this book). Passamaquoddy historian Soctomah and co-author Flahive present a text-heavy series of incidents rather than an actual story, emphasizing the imagined relationship but providing little narrative oomph. The result is a pleasant interlude with little for young readers to hold onto for later. Owens's soft watercolors depict the scenes with warmth but do not provide any real visual dynamism. Without question well-meaning and potentially useful in Native American curricula but hard to work with in isolation. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780884483007
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/17/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: NC820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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