One of our recommended books for 2019 is I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

I CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE


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 answers.

Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about?

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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 answers.

Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?

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  • HarperCollins Children’s Books
  • Hardcover
  • October 2019
  • 272 Pages
  • 9780062871992

Buy the Book

$16.99

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About Christine Day

Christine Day (Upper Skagit) holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington, where she created a thesis on Coast Salish weaving traditions. I Can Make This Promise is her first novel. Christine lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband.

Praise

“Day’s novel brings an accessible, much-needed perspective about the very real consequences of Indigenous children being taken from their families and Native Nations. The absence of one’s tribal community, loss of culture and lack of connection to relatives have ripple effects for generations.” – Traci Sorell (Cherokee Nation), award-winning author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Discussion Questions

1. After finding the box in the attic, Edie asks her parents, “Why am I Edith?” and “Where did my name come from?” (pg. 49) What is the story behind Edie’s name? By the end of the book, how does she feel about her name?

2. In one of her letters, Edith Graham writes: “I must admit, I’m homesick. It’s lonely being the only Indian woman around.” (p. 143) Do other characters feel lonely throughout this book? Can you identify any patterns or similarities between their moments of loneliness?

3. Over the course of this novel, Edie’s friendships change. Take a moment to reflect on her relationships with Amelia, Serenity, Libby, and Roger. What is the nature of Edie’s relationship with each person? How are these characters significant to Edie’s growth?

4. Who is Bruno? How does Bruno’s journey change and evolve alongside Edie’s? Are there any connections between his story and Edith Graham’s? Are there connections between Bruno and Edie’s mom?

5. How does Edie’s identity as an artist change over the course of the book? What are her main sources of inspiration? Do you think her artwork is influenced by her identity as a biracial Native (Duwamish/Suquamish) girl?

6. What is the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978? Why is this piece of legislature so vital to tribal nations, families, and communities?

7. Why do you think the author chose the title: I Can Make This Promise? What is the main promise Edie makes in this story? How does she fulfill this promise in the book? How might she honor it in the future?

8. Make your own promise. Reflect on the people, places, memories, and experiences that are most important to you. What can you do to fulfill this promise right now? How might you honor your promise in the future?