Cover Image: We Still Belong

We Still Belong

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Member Reviews

A realistic fiction book about a young girl who has a crush on a boy, is trying to navigate the 7th grade, as well as getting used to her new living arrangements at her grandfather's home with her mother, her aunt and uncle, and her new baby cousin.  Add on top of all that she's dealing with the fact that her teachers have not acknowledged her piece in the school newspaper about her feeling about Indigenous People's Day, especially because her family through her grandmother's side, is from the Upper Skagit tribe.  Because of the tribal law, she cannot be part of the Nation, but that doesn't stop her from being proud of her heritage.  This is a story about being true to yourself and not conforming yourself to other people's thought and opinions of you, as well as a story that Native people are still here, still matter, and still make a difference and should be given the same space as anyone else.
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Powerful, magically real, and moving. Christine Day manages to weave a story that only lasts one day, but still evokes a lot of growth out of its characters. Wesley is going to have a big day--she's just had an important poem about Indigenous People's Day published in her school paper, and she's about to ask her crush, Ryan, to a dance. However, everything starts to go wrong. People are saying that her crush is going to go with one of the blonde, popular, rich kids and none of her teachers seem to understand her poem. Timely, relevant, quiet, but strong, this book is a must buy for all library collections serving youth.
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Christine Day does it again! 

Wesley has just had a poem published in her school newspaper for Indigenous Peoples' Day, and at the same time is hoping to ask a boy, Ryan, to the school dance.

This novel spans only one day but there is never a dull moment. Wesley and her mother are compelling protagonists you can't help but root for - and I love the grandpa! Wesley's best friend is also so heartwarmingly supportive. I love seeing the living support of Wesley's family and her friends, new and old, represented in this book. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary middle grade - it is fast paced, written with Day's always crisp prose, and a heartwarming read.
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This is a lovely little book! It takes places all in a day, but it doesn’t feel stretched out. Flashbacks and stories are woven in very well, and it comes to a satisfying conclusion. 

I loved that this book highlighted through Wesley’s friend and her English teacher that being marginalized does not mean you have to constantly explain why you deserve to be included and why you celebrate Indigenous People’s Day over Columbus Day. Even in artistic expression like a poem, there can still be a thesis statement—“We Still Belong.”

Even though the book is so short, we get a sense of Wesley’s family and friends—including classmates she gets to know better. The book feels like a portal to understanding the complexities to those around you and the importance of family.
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Listen as a child it was rare to have Native American representation outside of white spaces where we were just seen as vilians or savages. In my adult life this book made my heart smile. We actually got the guy and we are depicted as educated. While wesley has struggles in her personal life she has support from a loving family and friends. I also loved her learning not to judge a book by its cover going both ways. Also, giving importance to indigenous peoples day. Thats still a conversation that needs to be had within school but this book gives me hope.
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I loved this one. Christine Day has such a powerful voice in middle grade fiction and the representation, both indigenous and of the main character’s warm, expansive family was beautifully rendered. I loved the powerful emphasis on finding both your voice and community in this incredibly tender and thoughtful piece of middle grade fiction.
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This was such a great read and it was so cool how the story took place over only a day! So many great topics were addressed-indigenous peoples day, family, culture, friendship-as well as some fun topics (first love).
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The ending was a bit abrupt and tidy, but I enjoyed this story. I really appreciate Day’s books featuring Native characters living contemporary lives. Wesley is a likable character facing a lot of stresses that many young readers will connect with.
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We Still Belong isolates a day in Wesley Wilder's young life life. And not just any day––Indigenous People's Day. Wesley is confronted with a lot, her English teacher's adamancy that writing needs a thesis, helping two girls whom she's never formally met, and the possibility that her crush may not be going to the Tolo Dance with her. All the while, and in spite of all the setbacks, Wesley's resilient spirit and the support of her family remind her where she belongs in the world.
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We Still Belong by Christine Day is a great story about a 7th grader indigenous student on Indigenous Peoples Day.  As an indigenous women, it’s a story I wish I had as a kid and I’m glad future kids will have this.
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Thank you to #NetGalley, Christine Day, and the publisher of the book for the eARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
Wesley writes a poem for Indigenous Peoples' Day that she is really proud of, but her teacher's reaction to the poem has her thinking she should not express herself. Will the help of family and friends help show Wesley it's okay to be proud of who she is?

I loved Wesley's character and this book! I hope it shows young kids it's okay to be themselves and they show be proud of where they come from!
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Wesley has a poem published in the newspaper, one she is very proud of because it's about Indigenous Peoples' Day. It is a day she realizes is largely ignored and uncelebrated. A heartwarming story about belonging and facing fears, We Belong lacks a true theme that runs throughout the book. Occasionally, there is an overarching theme, but it is often ignored for minor plots. Wesley's culture and community connection could have been highlighted more.
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We Still Belong is a thoughtful middle grade novel about a young Indigenous girl trying to find her voice and her place in the world. Wesley deals with lots of typical middle school angst -- pining over a crush, teacher problems -- but she also has some issues at home (her mom is struggling financially) and she's constantly feeling "not Native" enough. This heartfelt novel is a winner!
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Wesley is excited to have her poem about Indigenous Peoples’ Day published in the school newspaper, and is also super nervous to ask her crush and gamer friend Ryan to the dance.

As always, Christine Day delivers a wonderful story that begs to be read and re-read. This one is definitely going to be a comfort book for me, and I'm sure tons of young readers will agree. We Still Belong is full of relatable characters in realistic situations, such as how Wesley lives with extended family as well as her mom, a character's parents are going through divorce, and Wesley waits for the reaction from her peers and teachers after her poem is published in the school newspaper.

We Still Belong may only follow Wesley for a single day, but in that time readers get to engage with a gorgeous setting, meet her family, see her school life, and attend an intertribal powwow where Wesley is reminded of how loved and cherished she is as a member of her community.

I especially enjoyed the focus on family, standing up for oneself, and learning to trust oneself. This delightful novel is full of humor and heart, creating space for compelling characters that leave the reader feeling loved, reassured, cherished.

This book gave me all feels. The range of representation in how varied Native people can appear is so inclusive and loving. That’s it— this book feels so loving. While blood quantum politics is tackled, the heart of this story is beautifully shown through the reality that though Wesley is not an enrolled tribal member, she still belongs: to community, to her family, to her tribal Nation, to herself.

I didn’t want this book to end. I loved every moment spent with Wesley, enjoying her voice and way of moving through the world. Wesley’s confidence, even when she was not in fact feeling confident, so precisely captures that age and feeling of both complete security in your identity and also the concern that maybe you’re totally wrong.

Once again, Christine Day leaves readers feeling loved, cared for, and having heard an excellent story from an interesting, lovable main character. She’s one of those authors who you can safely buy any of her books and never be disappointed. Each title is highly re-readable, full of incredible characters and beautiful stories.

We Still Belong will be available August 1, 2023. 

Thank you to the author, NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's Books, and Heartdrum for an e-ARC such that I could share my honest opinions.
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I'm always on the lookout for great middle-grade fiction, and you guys, this is a really good one. 

Wesley Wilder is a 12-year-old girl whose family is Upper Skagit. However, she is only a 1/4 native, so not an official member, which she struggles with this throughout the book. She wrote a poem for Indigenous Peoples Day that was printed in her school newspaper, and she was really excited about how her teachers and other students would react to it. 

This book was exactly what I want all diversity inclusion to look like. It was beautifully done, the poem was moving, and I think that this is the book you would want to recommend to young readers. It's a slice-of-life story, exploring the life of one native girl and her experiences. It's the kind of book you want to crawl into, like a warm blanket.
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**I received an ARC from Netgalley and the publisher. This is my honest review.**

This book follows one day (Indigenous Peoples Day) in Wesley's life but we get a LOT of story. Wesley's own developing understanding and views of her culture is explored but we also see how her family's experiences and views influence her as well. With many middle-grade novels focused on low-income MC's we usually see abusive homes. I was happy that the author showed how much Wesley's family cares and support each other. This book is a wonderful read with themes of culture, self-identity, coming of age, friendship, family, and taking risks. There are several important topics that are covered with sensitivity but also not shied away from. One of these is blood-quantum levels which is addressed in an age appropriate manner while still presenting both sides. Another is how some of Wesley's teachers and peers expect her to be aggressively outspoken about Indigenous People's Day vs. Columbus day. These topics were presented naturally within the story. 
I think this is a great book for any middle-grader. As an adult the plot ran slower for me at times, but I would have devoured this book in middle school. I'll be keeping an eye out for future books by this author.
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I love, love, love that this book took place all in one day! It takes a gifted writer to tell a compelling story in one fourteen-hour period, but Christine Day knocked it out of the park. I loved Wesley's POV, her friends, her family -- and the way it all tied together at the end of the day...chef's kiss! I know that both of my kids will enjoy this one, but especially my teen writer.
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Thanks for the arc, netgalley! 

I really enjoyed this story about a gamer girl wondering if the boy she likes will like her too, all in one big day! I loved the way her family supported her, and the way she was able to make friends with people she otherwise didn’t know. I especially loved how relatable she was, as someone who was shy and a bit stuck in her head, and someone who was proud of her heritage and didn’t always know the right thing. 
Also Mac Wilder made me laugh so much!
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*I received an ARC of “We Still Belong” from NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers in exchange for an honest review.* 

This is my first Christine Day middle grade novel and I can't wait to read more from her. 

We Still Belong does a beautiful job of sharing Indigenous Peoples' Day and why it is important. It provides a window into life as an indigenous person in America and how they continue to be silenced and marginalized. It is an important book, one that I look forward to sharing with my kids. 

On a lighter note it also has a very light first crush theme throughout the book that was very cute, very wholesome.
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It was a cute story but I don’t feel the point of “we belong” was really explored/mentioned as much as I thought it would be. Basically, I felt like it was too short of a story to really make the authors intended impact.
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