Remember Us

Remember Us

by Jacqueline Woodson
Remember Us

Remember Us

by Jacqueline Woodson


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Jacqueline Woodson brings her gorgeously lyrical style to a story about acceptance, both internal and external. Touching on important contemporary issues alongside a highly relatable narrator, this is just another brilliant work from an author we all love.

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson brings readers a powerful story that delves deeply into life’s burning questions about time and memory and what we take with us into the future.

It seems like Sage’s whole world is on fire the summer before she starts seventh grade. As house after house burns down, her Bushwick neighborhood gets referred to as “The Matchbox” in the local newspaper. And while Sage prefers to spend her time shooting hoops with the guys, she’s also still trying to figure out her place inside the circle of girls she’s known since childhood. A group that each day, feels further and further away from her. But it’s also the summer of Freddy, a new kid who truly gets Sage. Together, they reckon with the pain of missing the things that get left behind as time moves on, savor what’s good in the present, and buoy each other up in the face of destruction. And when the future comes, it is Sage’s memories of the past that show her the way forward. Remember Us speaks to the power of both letting go . . . and holding on.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399545467
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 10/10/2023
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 71,165
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

About The Author
Jacqueline Woodson received a 2023 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, and she was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Her NY Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, and the NAACP Image Award. Her dozens of books for young readers include Coretta Scott King Award and NAACP Image Award winner Before the Ever After, NY Times bestsellers The Day You Begin and Harbor Me, Newbery Honor winners Feathers, Show Way, and After Tupac and D Foster, and Each Kindness, which won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.

Read an Excerpt

After the year of fire vines rise up through the rest of our lives of smoke of flame of memory.
As if to say
We’re still here.
As if to say
Remember us.


The moon is bright tonight. And full. Hanging low above the house across the street where an orange curtain blows in and out of my neighbors’ window. Out and in. And past the curtain there’s the golden light of their living room lamps. Beyond that, there is the pulsing blue of their tele­vision screen. I see this all now. I see a world continuing.

And in the orange and gold and blue I’m reminded again of the year when sirens screamed through my old neighborhood and smoke always seemed to be billowing. Somewhere.

That year, from the moment we stepped out of our houses in the morning till late into the night, we heard the sirens. Down Knickerbocker. Up Madison. Across Cornelia. Both ways on Gates Avenue. Down Ridgewood Place. Rounding the corners of Putnam, Wilson, Evergreen. . .

Evergreen. Sometimes a word comes to you after time has passed. And it catches you off guard. Evergreen. The name of a family of trees. And the name of a block in Brooklyn. Evergreen. Another way of saying forever.

That year, nothing felt evergreen.

Palmetto. A word that has never left me. A word that in my mind is evergreen. Palmetto. The name for both a stunning tree and an oversize cockroach. Palmetto was also the name of a street in my old neighborhood. And that year, Palmetto Street was burning.


That was the year when, one by one, the buildings on Palmetto melted into a mass of rock and ash and crumbled plaster until just a few walls were left standing. Walls that we threw our balls against and chased each other around. And at the end of the day, when we were too tired to play anymore, they were the walls we simply sat down by and pressed our backs into, staring out over a block that was already, even as we stared at it with our lips slightly parted and our hands shielding the last of the sun from our eyes, almost gone.

We said Well, nothing lasts for always, right?

We said One day even the whole earth will disappear.

We were just some kids making believe we understood.

But we didn’t. Not yet.

We didn’t understand the fires. Or life. Or the world.

But we knew that neighborhood was our world.

And we knew . . . our world was burning.


That was the year of Freddy too.


Freddy moved into the corner building on Palmetto Street right where it was sliced through by a small block called Ridgewood Place. The brick houses on Ridgewood Place felt like they came from another time. Each house was just as perfect as the one beside it. The cars parked out in front of the houses were undented and shining. We didn’t understand how the people who lived on Ridgewood Place got such nice houses and fancy cars. But we understood why their brick houses remained standing long after the wooden houses of Palmetto Street had burned to the ground. So we slitted our eyes as we walked past the houses on Ridgewood Place, jealous because the kids who lived inside that brick didn’t have to worry about how quickly flames flew. And we slitted our eyes because we knew they didn’t have to sleep with their robes and shoes at the foot of their beds. We knew if those kids woke up in the middle of the night, it was only to go to the bathroom or climb into their parents’ bed during a thunderstorm.


Hey, girl!

The first time I ever talked to Freddy was the day he called to me from his window. I had been dribbling my basketball through my legs as I walked up the block but stopped to see who was yelling. It was summer, and the one tree on Palmetto Street was in front of his building. That’s what I remember now—looking up at Freddy through all that green.

Hey, yourself, I yelled back.

Where’s the park at?

What park?

My dad said there was a park around here somewhere. With hoops.

I shrugged. I don’t know anything about some park, I said.

But you got a ball.


A hot wind came out of nowhere and trembled the leaves. I didn’t want to be yelling in the street up at some kid’s window, and something about that wind made me feel a way. So I gave a little wave and then broke into a jog toward the park.

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