age range: 8-12 years
genre: contemporary fiction
themes: hope, family, community, and belonging
Christine Day’s website
Christine Day has told a story that doesn’t shy away from hard truths of the past and the present. But with a keen ear for the voice of an Indigenous girl finding her way, with compassion and love and poetry, this is a celebration of community, family, and identity. It will stay with you for a long time, in the best possible way.
— David A. Robertson, author of the Misewga Saga series
Wesley Wilder is big-hearted, thoughtful and kind. She’s figuring out who she is in the context of a wonderful family while bravely becoming her unique, starry self–and she holds space for readers to do the same. I can’t wait for them to meet her.
— Natalie Lloyd, author of A Snicker of Magic and Hummingbird
Told over the course of one day, this cozy and warm story captured my heart. Readers will root for Wesley as she follows her heart and finds her voice. An important story of belonging and identity.
— Jasmine Warga, author of Other Words for Home
Please tell us about your book.
WE STILL BELONG (coming August 2023) follows Wesley Wilder over the course of one big day: she plans to ask her crush to the middle school dance, and she also has a column coming out in the school newspaper for Indigenous Peoples Day. She has big expectations as she boards the morning bus, but once she arrives on campus, nothing goes according to plan. She feels disheartened by the end of the school day, until she attends an intertribal powwow in the evening, where everything changes once again. It’s a story about hope, family, community, and belonging.
What inspired you to write this story?
Many things, really. With each new book that I write, I weave together a tapestry of my personal interests, questions, and thoughts. For WE STILL BELONG, I drew inspiration from: the impact of blood quantum laws on Native youth; video games, gamer culture, virtual community-building and online activism; intergenerational family living; middle school life, friendships, and politics. And also, I wanted to include a cat in this book. So Wesley has a kitty named Vader. (And yes, it’s a Star Wars reference.)
Could you share a few interesting tidbits about your writing process with this book?
While I worked through the final edits, I reread the entire book–from start to finish–out loud to myself. I think reading your work out loud is very insightful. It can be easy to skim or skip things while reading in your head, and it’s easy to become distracted. But when you read the entire text out loud, you are forced to focus on every word.
What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?
I think there are plenty of topics that could inspire research projects and curriculum connections. However, I am most excited for kids and educators to discuss this book’s themes of community and inclusion. There are a few glaring moments within the text when people in Wesley’s school don’t set the best example for fostering community on campus. Some situations are handled unfairly, and I hope my readers will discuss those moments, and imagine better solutions to these scenarios.
Thanks again for including me in your blog, Caroline!
Thank you, Christine, for sharing your new book with my readers.