Cover image for I can make this promise
I can make this promise
1st ed.
Physical Description:
264 pages ; 22 cm.
Geographic Term:
When twelve-year-old Edie finds letters and photographs in her attic that change everything she thought she knew about her Native American mother's adoption, she realizes she has a lot to learn about her family's history and her own identity. --


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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 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?

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Debut author Day (who is Upper Skagit) drew from her own experience as the daughter of a Native American adoptee to create the character of Edie Green, a 12-year-old budding artist who lives in Seattle with her parents. Edie has always known that her Native American mother was adopted and raised by a white family; while digging around in the family's attic, Edie stumbles upon a box of photos and letters written by Edith Graham, a Suquamish and Duwamish aspiring actor from the 1970s. When her friends notice the striking similarity between Edie and Edith and her parents don't answer Edie's broad questions about her, Edie becomes convinced that the stranger is her namesake. Beyond the mystery, important themes resonate throughout, including cultural identity and what makes a friendship worth keeping. Day's affecting novel also considers historical truths about how Native Americans have been treated throughout U.S. history, particularly underlining family separations. Though Edie's first-person voice occasionally sounds a bit young for a seventh grader, her urgent desire to know her family's past propels this story forward. In illuminating notes that bookend the novel, Day further discusses the personal and historical roots of Edie's moving tale. Ages 8--12. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Oct.)

Kirkus Review

A Suquamish/Duwamish girl uncovers her tragic family history in this contemporary tale of adoption.Edie's idyllic life in a Seattle neighborhood is upended when she realizes her parents have been telling lies. Biracial 12-year-old Edie has always known her mother was Native American but adopted into a white family. Due to this, her mother has claimed to be ignorant about her birth family and tribe. (Edie's father is white.) While the ambiguities of Edie's family history make her uncomfortable, she accepts the story until the day she searches the attic while working on a film project with her two best friends. They discover a box there with photos of a woman who looks exactly like Edie. Opening letters in the box, the friends realize the woman shares Edie's name. Even as preteen tensions begin to pull her friend group apart, young Edie struggles as she seeks to discover the truth about her past without asking her parents directly. Preteen anxiety gives way to daunting maturity as she learns about the misrepresentation of Native Americans in film, the activism of the American Indian Movement, and the reason her parents decided to keep her family connections a secret for so long. The novel is enlightening and a must-read for anyone interested in issues surrounding identity and adoption.Debut author Day (Upper Skagit) handles family separation in Native America with insight and grace. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

It's summertime in Seattle for 12-year-old Edie, and between animating a short film with her best friends and adjusting to new braces, she is keeping busy. Nothing could have prepared her for a discovery in her parents' attic: a box full of photographs and letters belonging to a woman named Edith Graham, someone whose likeness is uncannily similar to Edie's. Edie always knew her mother was both Native American and adopted, but who was Edith Graham? As we follow Edie in unraveling this mystery, Day (herself having ties to the Upper Skagit tribe) offers readers a rich story that is both powerfully genuine in its conflicts and delightfully imaginative in its resolutions. The narrative explores issues relevant to tween readers, such as maneuvering through a friendship that is changing, coping with painful braces, and confronting family secrets. If that weren't enough, this debut also offers compelling historical knowledge about the Pacific Northwest Native American tribes, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, and what it means to find one's heritage.--Stephanie Harper Copyright 2010 Booklist