I Can Make This Promise
by Day, Christine

"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"-

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. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

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 America n 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 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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