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I Can Make This Promise

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  99 reviews
In her debut middle grade novel—inspired by her family’s history—Christine Day tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secrets—and finds her own Native American identity.

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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Middle grade literature can too often become heavily reliant on a number of well-worn tropes. For example, this year (2019) we’ve been seeing a slew of books where the mom is dead and the daughter has to essentially care for her grief-stricken father. But this literature isn’t just limited to dead moms. Grief is weighing down the protagonists of 2019 like a heavy blanket. So much so that members of a book committee I serve on have taken to saying, “If nobody’s grieving, then the book wasn’t ...more
Laura (bbliophile)
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-releases
This was so good and so important and just, please read this. Please add it to your TBR.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: story-shop-reads
I hope this book makes it onto every school list in existence.

Day creates a realistic middle school world where any reader can see themselves, with the ups & downs of friendships & a dynamic parent-child relationship. With foundations set, we dive into the unique experiences & family history of a Native American child. Day pulls you in with the lovely quirks of Edie’s character & then sets before you the mystery of her namesake. Day approaches both the lovely & the
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I Can Make This Promise is a story about identity, family, and friendship. It takes our universal question about wondering where we are from, what our origins are, and sets it in the discovery of a box in the attic. This discovery convinces Edie that someone is lying to her about where her name came from. We always wonder about names. Where our names come from, and Edie's
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely, poignant, IMPORTANT book.
Jen Petro-Roy
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, arc, ebook, middle-grade
So, so good.
Ari Reavis
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it
I loved this book about finding home when you didn't know where home was. It made me cry, laugh, aww, and taught me about many different things, which is something that always excites me in a book.
Edie finds a box in the attic that holds secrets she never even knew she didn't know. What unfolds is growth, a finding of hard truths, and a tragic story. I especially liked how vivid the descriptions were, whether of the places Edie went in the book, or the drawings she made throughout the story.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
Edie knows that her mother was adopted by a white couple, but the only thing she knows about her mother’s background is that she is Native American. Her mother won’t talk about her childhood at all. While looking in the attic with her friends, Edie discovers a box of old photographs and documents with a woman who looks a lot like her and has the same name! As Edie explores the documents, she realizes that her parents have been lying to her for her entire life. Even when she tries to give them a ...more
Laura Beam
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book! The end had me sobbing and the story was beautifully rendered. The book deals with the ripple affects of native and indigenous children being separated from their families and communities from the 1940s-1970s (and probably before). All up until the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which I am ashamed to say - I did not know about before the reading of this book. This book is so important for children of all backgrounds to read, as it brings to light many important ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-middle-grade
I won a copy from the publisher; this did not influence my review.

Day brings an important aspect of Native history to light in this middle grade book. My daughter and I both read and enjoyed it, but I wish it hadn't been set up as a mystery. We both figured the "mystery" out rather quickly and it made much of the book feel like a waiting game. I had hoped for more of a sense of Native culture from the book as well, but we both enjoyed the characters and setting of this debut novel.
Jenna (Bookiemoji)
Bravo! The local setting and the realistic storyline makes this a deeply meaningful read for young people in the PNW. But it’s also a story that is meaningful to our time and this nation. Well written and thoughtful. Highly recommended.
Shauna Yusko
This is fantastic.

I struggle a little with best audience and I’m still thinking on that. Would be great for middle school if the character wasn’t 12 and didn’t act younger.

But the subject could really be best served in middle school.

It’s a quiet gem and a must read.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable middle-grade debut by an #ownvoices Indigenous author that tackles heavy topics in an accessible, age-appropriate way. It is an uplifting and heartwarming tribute to cultural resilience, family ties (biological and chosen), and true friendship. Highly recommended for classroom use as a corrective to units about Indian history that erase present-day people.
Mary Lee
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story of changing friendships, but also an #ownvoices story of identity. What if your mother was stolen at birth? How would you know what to think of your Native heritage?
Nov 13, 2019 added it
Beautifully written middle grade novel. I learned quite a few things about Native Americans that I had no idea about (but I won't say what because it would be a big spoiler). Just, wow.
Margaret Desjardins
The author weaves an engaging story. The author In her debut middle grade novel tells the story of a girl who discovers her own Native American identity.
The girl searches for clues that lead to learning her identity.
I appreciate the author’s ability to keep the story engaging through well connected sub plots. Christine Day has a future as an author. This is a must read.

Haley • Fangirl Fury •
I Can Make This Promise tells a very important and untold story about Native American culture and heritage. This is such an educational read for middle grade-aged readers or those who don't know too much about Native American conflicts in the US. My full review for I Can Make This Promise can be found here on Fangirl Fury.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an #OwnVoices story with an important perspective,'s just not written super well. The dialogue in particular is really clunky and awkward.
Inspired by debut author Christine Day’s personal family history, I Can Make This Promise (HarperCollins Publishers) is a powerful children’s book about a mixed-race Native American girl who grapples with her family’s complicated legacy — and must figure out how to understand her own.

Edie Green, a curious 12-year-old girl, has always known she’s half Native-American. She knows her mother was adopted into a white family as a baby. She also knows she has no way to connect to her Native heritage,
Kyra Nay
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
From debut author Christine Day, comes this powerful story of heritage, family secrets, and growing up. Quiet and artistic, Edie is an only child and very close to her parents. When Edie and her friends discover a hidden box in the attic with letters signed “Love Edith” and a photograph of an unknown woman with an uncanny resemblance to Edie, she is profoundly shaken that her parents have not shared the full truth about her mother’s birth family. Edie’s confusion over what to do also reveals ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Edie is a bright, creative twelve year old girl that harbors a secret question she's ready to find answers for... "Where am I from?" She knows she's Native American, but her mother was adopted by a white family-- and she's always shied away from telling Edie about their cultural heritage. When Edie discovers a memory box of photos and letters from her namesake, Edith Graham, she's determined to learn her truth. A glorious novel of emerging identity, friendships, and many kinds of family. I was ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Growing up in Indianola, I have always been fascinated by and enamored with the history of our local tribes. This book brings to life a dark part of US history that needs to be told. It was so fun to read about our small town in a book and remember the rich history it holds <3
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yabc-reviews
See my full review here:

I CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE is a moving middle grade contemporary fiction about trusting your parents, finding your heritage, and navigating friendships. Edie is 12 years old, and she knows that her mother is Native American, but she was adopted as an infant, so did not have close ties to a tribe. Edie thought that this was the end of the story until she finds a box in the attic with her friends filled with pictures of a woman who
Ms. Yingling
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Edie lives near Seattle, Washington, and has two good friends, Serenity and Amelia. They are working on an animation project for a local contest. After seeing a lost dog at a festival she attended with her parents, Edie wants to make him the center of the story, but Amelia thinks that is babyish. Amelia thinks a lot of things are babyish, but when the girls are searching Edie's attic for ice pop molds, they come across some photographs and letters from the early
Mike M
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone.
First thing, rant.
Everyone who claims to love this book needs to know that the Indian Child Welfare Act (which is an attempt to reduce the frequency of tragedies like the one that befell Edie's grandmother) is under attack right now.


Anti-Native entities have brought yet another adoption case to the Supreme Court, in yet another try at overturning that law. America's will to destroy Indians and our families is not in the past. It continues right now. It's your democracy; it's up to
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Edith has always known she and her mother are Native American, but has never known more than that because her mother was adopted by a white family as a baby. Edie is happy with her life; she loves her mom and dad and her mom's older brother Phil, and Edie and her two best friends are planning to enter a video contest this summer, using Edie's drawings as animation. But then, Edie finds a box in the attic with photos of someone named Edith Graham, and letters written in the 1960s and 1970s. ...more
Miz Lizzie
Edie knows that she is Native because her mother is. But her mother was adopted by a white family and knows little of her background. At least that's what Edie has been led to believe. Then, she discovers a box in the attic with pictures and letters of a woman her looks just like her and has her name. Angry at her parents lying to her, Edie doesn't tell her parents what she has found at first. Seventh-grader Edie is dealing with friend drama at the same time that she is feeling like she has lost ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

We need more books written by Native authors. There are too few of them in middle grade literature, and there are such important stories that need to be told and heard. I'm so glad that Christine's story will hit shelves on October 1st, and help expand the options currently available on the market.

Edie wonders where her full name, Edith, comes from. When she finds a forgotten box in her attic filled with letters and photos of
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
12-year-old Edie loves to interpret her world through drawings-a stray dog becomes an on-going character, she captures her uncle's beloved duck in a portrait-but she finds the hidden layers underneath her world centering around her Native American mom's adoption by a white couple and her own mixed-race heritage are less easy to delineate. As Edie and her friends find a box filled with photos of a woman who looks just like her they navigate through themes of trust, concealment and the difficultly ...more
Alexa Hamilton
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tween
Edie is in middle school, she's having some mild friend issues that get worse over the summer. She also manages to find a box in the attic that seems to connect to her past--which she doesn't know anything about because her mother is adopted so doesn't know her history. Or at least, hasn't told Edie. And it's hard for Edie because she has brown skin and she's Native American on her mom's side but she doesn't know what tribe. So it feels really bad when people ask "what are you?"

With the finding
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Christine Day (Upper Skagit) grew up in Seattle, nestled between the sea, the mountains, and the pages of her favorite books. She is a contributor to OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES (Simon Pulse, 2018). I CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE (HarperCollins, 2019) will be her middle grade debut. Christine lives in the Coast Salish region.

Her work is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.