Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She served three terms as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2019-2022 and won Yale's 2023 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and is the first Artist-in-Residence for the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she lives. The depths of all this experience and more come through in her poetry.
Her poem at the heart of this book — "Remember" — is so highly regarded that veteran television journalist Bill Moyers selected it for his treasure-trove of poetry, The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets. The poem calls us to keep in mind our birthright of the sky and celestial orbs, to appreciate the love and labor of others that makes our lives possible, and to revere and listen to "the plants, trees, animal life who all have their tribes, their families, their histories."
Harjo slightly adapted the poem for this book to make it suitable for all ages. Her accompanying Author's Note explains that " 'Remember' came into the world to remind me who I am as a human being living on this generous earth. We all need to be reminded to remember."
An Artist's Note from Michaela Goade tells us that the book's opening reminded her "of traditional Tlingit creation stories, ones about Raven and his trickster ways, and of how he first released the stars, the moon, and the sun." So she begins with magnificent illustrations of Raven bringing light to the world, and moves forward portraying a young Tlingit girl who draws power from her cultural and universal roots.
Michaela Goade is a Caldecott Medalist and #1 New York Times Bestselling illustrator of We Are Water Protectors, also a 2020 Kirkus Prize Finalist. Other books include the New York Times Bestselling I Sang You Down from the Stars and Shanyaak’utlaax: Salmon Boy, winner of the 2018 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Picture Book. Goade wanted the pages of Remember to celebrate Lingít Aaní, the Tlingit Lands of Alaska. “Following the artist path," she writes in her online bio, "has enabled me to reconnect with my culture, a true gift that has become both an anchor and a north star.”
You can see Goade's illustrations and listen to Harjo read this book here: