My First Memory (of Librarians)

by Nikki Giovanni

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: First Memory

Step 1

Show your students the small collection of images provided in the presentation. Then have them talk about all of the memories they associate with one or more of the images on the slide.

Step 2

Watch the embedded video of “My First Memory (of Librarians) by Nikki Giovanni. As they’re watching, have them think of the different ways both the video and the words are able convey her sense of childlike wonder.

Step 3

Give your students some time to think of a memory from their childhood that they remember fondly and have them write down all the specific details they remember about that memory.

Step 4

Have your students write a poem in which they recount their “first memory.”

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are: diction, selection of detail, imagery, and tone.

Step 2

Show the following scene from the film The Sandlot. In the clip provided, a young boy recounts the legend of the “beast,” an enormous dog that has been terrorizing them from behind the fence on their baseball field. Have your students pay attention as to how the retelling of the story underscores the children’s naiveté and sense of childlike awe/wonder.

Step 3

Have your students read “My First Memory (of Librarians)” by Nikki Giovanni, paying particular attention as to how the poet is able to convey a similar sense of childlike wonder and awe. Then briefly discuss.

Step 4

Tell your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, the students are – in a similar sentiment to the scene from The Sandlot – to recreate this memory in a way that captures the speaker’s sense of childlike fascination, awe, wonder, etc.

*Note: This assignment may take them a little while to complete!

Step 5

When the students are done, you can have them share some of their videos or share the following sample video.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Appreciation
  • Children / Youth
  • Creativity / Imagination / Writing
  • History
  • Joy
  • Love

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Tone