Summary (from the publisher):
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?
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Christine Day’s middle grade debut, I Can Make This Promise, tells such a unique story in the genre. The book follows twelve-year old Edie, who is trying to navigate herself through friendship, her heritage, and her parents’ secrets . Edie has always known she’s half Native American and that her mother was adopted by a white family. But that’s where Edie’s mother always tends to end the conversation about their family history. When Edie finds a box full of letters and old photos of a woman who looks life her and has the same name, she starts putting together her untold heritage.
Although one trying to uncover their family’s hidden past isn’t a new trope, characters with Native American heritage is likely one of the more untold stories in middle grade and YA. I’ve read a few books about Native American culture in my college classes, but I have never encountered the culture in middle grade. I actually learned about Sacheen Littlefeather in my literature class on American imperialism, so it was really cool reading about her part in the story. That being said, I Can Make This Promise is a very educational read. This book would make for such a fantastic educational resource for young/middle grade readers who haven’t been exposed to Native American culture and their conflicts with the US government. Edie explores so many of the themes within these issues in such a relatable and simplified way.