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I Can Make This Promise

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  52 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 ans
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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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 publ ...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 heartbrea
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely, poignant, IMPORTANT book.
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 stor
Jen Petro-Roy
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, arc, ebook, middle-grade
So, so good.
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 discove
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
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.
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.
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 g ...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 looks just like her- and is named E
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
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
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
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 dee ...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?"

Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE is painful yet lovely. Edie is dealing with things many almost 7th graders are dealing with -- braces, changing friendships, trying to figure out their place in the world -- but she is also grappling with her Native heritage and lack of knowledge about that heritage. This juxtaposition creates a beautiful story where Edie is contending with the past while still being firmly rooted in the present; there is no question that Edie, her mom, and their people exist n ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't love this. I had a real problem with Edie. She's a bit of a brat and if she had just talked to her mother earlier on, instead of at the very end, the author would have had more time to explore the culture and the specific conflict being presented here. What was an pretty great story kind of dissolved mid-book into typical tween tripe about friendships falling apart. I did appreciate the tour of Seattle (consequently, I am reading Hollow Kingdom right now and getting a totally different ...more
Olivia Williford (LivTheBookNerd)
Full review to come

• this story had so much promise. I really loved the discussion that it instigated about the treatment of Native Americans. That was lovely, but it didn’t make up for the issues that I had with the story itself:

• the writing was so choppy
• the middle of the story was sloooowwww and could have been cut to make the pacing consistent. I was so bored a good chunk of the time.
• the resolution to the two conflicts weren’t wrapped up as nicely as one would hope fo
Janet Rundquist
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many of the reviews I've read said "This book is important" -- I agree. This story provides a heartbreaking look at Native/First Nations history enfolded by a young girl and her mother ultimately saying together, "who are we" rather than the more common "who am I". It's a story with sad truths, but it isn't a sad story and Day gives a good glimpse of it through a twelve-year old's eyes.
Also, it may or may not have been intentional, but the metaphor behind the faltering relationship between Edie
This book explored the concept of identity and finding where you belong. The mystery involved is very serious and (view spoiler) a bit much for me personally. Had I known the direction it would take, I may have skipped it. I'll let you know if I have nightmares. The characters, setting and pacing were all great. The first half of the book was very telling and not showing so much.
Lisa Nagel
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A solid debate novel for young people that tackles some weighty topics with an approachable tone for young people and likable characters. It is an important addition to books on growing up as a Native American, and touches on issues faced and injustices done. It also realistically shows a young girl struggling with changing friendships, her relationship with her parents and finding out who she is and how her history matters.
Molly Cluff
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am usually a slow reader, but this simple middle grade story was a quick read for me! I loved the perspective of the main character, and the story was definitely eye opening to ways Native American families have been mistreated in more recent history. A great read for Native American heritage month
Karen Maurer
The central theme - cultural identity - is timely and handled well. The subplots of changing relationships in families and among friends are confusing. Changing relationships among friends is a subject that feels hackneyed. However, the resolution gave this theme a fresh look.

This is a worthy book that offers little known information on the ways Native Americans have been oppressed.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile
I had high hopes for this one. The ending was a little too saccharin for me.
Important history was covered here and I think kids who may be unfamiliar with Native American history will be shocked to learn about the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Would recommend, despite my disappointment in the ending. This is an important subject.
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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 & Med