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illustrated by Michaela Goade

In this picture book adaptation of her iconic poem, the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate invites readers to consider the connections between themselves and their family, community, and the world.

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In her author’s note, Joy Harjo writes, “We all need to be reminded to remember.” Help students to remember and hold on to the positive things about who they are and where they come from when they create their own Remember poem.

After reading Remember, and learning what the poet thinks are important things to remember, talk with students about what things are important to them. Ask them to think about things they have learned, the people and places they are connected to, the communities and cultures they value, and the ideas and dreams they hold in their hearts. Get them to make a list of the top five or top ten of those things that they want to remember.

Using that list, have students write five or ten lines of poetry, with each one starting with the word “remember.” Students may want to include in their line or add additional verse about why these are the things they chose to remember or expand their ideas by adding their own illustrations.

Give students who want to share their poems and read them to classmates the opportunity and allow others to keep their poems and what they choose to remember close to their hearts.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. What does the poet mean when she says “remember’? Why do you think she repeats the word? What does she want readers to remember? How are you related to or similar to what she wants you to remember?
  2. What connections to the earth does the poet want you to remember? How does she see everyone as connected to places and people and histories? What does the poet mean by “Remember you are all people and all people are you”?
  3. What does it feel like to remember something? What do you think it is your responsibility to remember? Do you think it is important to know about the past and about your own history? Why or why not?
  4. How and why is nature important to the poet? Do you value nature? How do you view and interact with nature?

Related Resources

Educator’s Guide from Random House Studio
Remember Poetry Read Along with Joy Harjo from PBS KIDS
Incredible Bridges: "Remember" by Joy Harjo from (for older readers)

Interview with Illustrator Michaela Goade

Reading Rockets interviewed Michaela Goade, illustrator of Remember. View the clip below or watch the full interview at their site.

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