Skip to Content

Deschutes Public Library’s ‘A Novel Idea’ raises the bar this year with 2 authors, 2 main events

Deschutes Public Library

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes Public Library proudly announced Wednesday the 19th annual celebration of “A Novel Idea…Read Together” with the return of dynamic programs and two opportunities to attend the main author events.

Starting in April, Central Oregonians can take part in a variety of free cultural programs and events focused around Diane Wilson’s The Seed Keeper and Christine Day’s I Can Make This Promise.

“This year’s ‘A Novel Idea’ titles stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest and connect us to people and places beyond our own experiences,” said Deschutes Public Library Programs Supervisor Liz Goodrich. “Both books, written by Native American women, inspire readers of all ages to deepen their understanding about the rich history and heritage of Native cultures.”

Programming for “A Novel Idea” begins on April 8 with an offering of in-person and online programs for youth and adults. What follows are four weeks of programs that reflect themes and ideas found in the books. “A Novel Idea” concludes with free presentations by Wilson and Day on May 6 in Bend and May 7 in Madras.

“The central themes of identity, belonging, and ancestry found in The Seed Keeper and I Can Make This Promise remind us of what is most important,” said Goodrich. “This year, the Library is partnering with Jefferson County Library District to expand the project. The more people we can get talking about the books, the more opportunities exist for community-building across the region.”

“A Novel Idea” has continued to grow year after year. When the program began in 2004, 600 people participated. Last year, more than 9,000 people took part, whether it was checking out the books, engaging in a lecture, attending the virtual author presentation—or, as is often the case, taking part in it all. The annual program is the largest community read program in the state of Oregon.

“Some programs take place virtually and others are live throughout Deschutes County, where guests can simply show up to attend,” said Goodrich. “We’ll hear about local efforts behind Ichishkín language revitalization and learn the importance of food sovereignty to Native peoples. Experts discuss Oregon’s Native American boarding school history, and we are hosting a gardening fair in Sisters and seed swap in Redmond. And for young readers, we have Grab-and-Go kits, Art with a Dog, book discussions and so much more.”

”A Novel Idea” 2022 culminates with free presentations by Wilson and Day on Friday, May 6, at 6:00 p.m. at Bend High School and Saturday, May 7, at 4:00 p.m. at the Madras Performing Arts Center. A book signing by the authors follows the presentations. Tickets are free, but required for the main author events and are available at and at Deschutes Public Library locations and Jefferson County Library starting April 11. Reader’s guides are available in print and online.

About the Book: The Seed Keeper
Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakota people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato—where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited. A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakota family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.

About the Author: Diane Wilson
Diane Wilson (Dakota) uses personal experience to illustrate broader social and historical context. Wilson’s memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, won a 2006 Minnesota Book Award and her nonfiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life, was awarded the 2012 Barbara Sudler Award from History Colorado. She is a descendent of the Mdewakanton Oyate and enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation. Wilson currently serves as the Executive Director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.

About the Book: I Can Make This Promise
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. I Can Make This Promise is a debut, middle-grade novel about the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secrets—and finds her own Native American identity.

About the Author: Christine Day

Christine Day (Upper Skagit) grew up in Seattle, nestled between the sea, the mountains and the pages of her favorite books. Her debut novel, I Can Make This Promise, was a best book of the year from Kirkus, School Library Journal, NPR, and the Chicago Public Library, as well as a Charlotte Huck Award Honor Book, and an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book. Day lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

About the Donors

“A Novel Idea” is made possible by generous donors: Lonza Pharma & Biotech; The Roundhouse Foundation; RBC Foundation; EH & ME Bowerman Fund at the Oregon Community Foundation; and Oregon Humanities. This programming is made possible thanks to the support of Oregon Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Oregon Cultural Trust, The Standard, and Stoel Rives LLP.

About the Programs

Text Box: Main Events: Authors Diane Wilson and Christine Day*
Deschutes Public Library welcomes Diane Wilson, author of The Seed Keeper, and Christine Day, author of I Can Make This Promise, to Central Oregon for “A Novel Idea ...Read Together.” * Tickets required; free tickets available beginning April 11 at and at all Deschutes Public Library locations and Jefferson County Library.
•	Friday, May 6, 6:00 p.m. | Bend High Auditorium, 230 NE 6th Street, Bend
•	Saturday, May 7, 4:00 p.m. | Madras Performing Arts Center, 412 SE Buff St, Madras

All programs are free and open to the public. No registration is required unless noted with an asterisk (*).

Truth & Reckoning: Indian Boarding Schools*

Learn about 100 years of Native American boarding school history in Oregon. Gabriann “Abby” Hall blends both historical fact and oral storytelling that honors the memories of all the strong, resilient Native people forced into boarding schools, including her grandmother.

Daughter of a Lost Bird Documentary Screening

Attend a film screening that follows Kendra, an adult Native adoptee, as she reconnects with her birth family, discovers her Lummi heritage, and confronts issues of her own identity. Her story echoes many affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Indian Adoption Project.

Daughter of a Lost Bird Documentary Screening with Q&A*

View the documentary Daughter of a Lost Bird and participate in a live Q&A following the film. The film documents Kendra on her journey to reconnect with her birth mother, April, after 34 years apart.

Yes, I’m Native. No, My Liver Doesn’t Hurt.

Explore the history of Indigenous peoples’ health in the United States. Presenter Amanda Page is an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes and currently works in Central Oregon as a critical care flight paramedic.

My Life in Central Oregon and with Deschutes Public Library

Learn the unique story of our community member, Darwin Simtustus, through his own words. Born in Redmond and raised on the Warm Springs Reservation, Darwin has a condition that resulted in the loss of his vision at age 19. His resilience opened many doors to support systems and organizations in his community.

Ichishkín Language Revitalization

Central Oregon is home to a few Indigenous languages that are now extinct. Join Jefferson Greene for a discussion to learn about the importance of local Native language revitalization that counters historical damage.

Northern Paiute Storyteller Wilson Wewa*

Wilson Wewa shares stories of his tribe, culture and past lifeways at the High Desert Music Hall. Wilson works for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs as the Senior Wellness Coordinator and is called upon as an orator, storyteller, and funerary officiate in his community.

Minnesota’s Forgotten War and Its Aftermath*

Hear how the events of 1862 shaped Federal policies towards Native peoples. In this talk, Joe Eggers, Assistant Director of the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, explores Minnesota’s memory of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and its aftermath.

The Right to Remain Connected and Indigenous

Explore the Indian Child Welfare Act and the story of tribal children’s mass removals from their families and communities. Indigenous Lawyer Sheri Freemont shares historical and contemporary impacts of assimilation and federal policies that have impacted tribal children for generations in the United States and abroad.

Star Party at Oregon Observatory at Sunriver*

Search the night sky for nebulae, galaxies, star clusters and planets at the Oregon Observatory at Sunriver, the largest collection of telescopes for public viewing in the United States. Sunriver’s elevation, pitch-dark surroundings and crystal clear air make it a perfect location for stargazing.

Gardening Fair on the Sisters Library Lawn

Think globally, act locally as we welcome Deschutes Land Trust, local weaver Kelli Palmer and Community Librarian Graham Fox for an open-air event taking place on the Sisters Library lawn. Learn how to help pollinators in your garden, build a microgreens kit, watch a weaving demonstration and more.

Food Security vs. Food Sovereignty

Learn why food sovereignty is so important to Native people. Perri McDaniel discusses sustainable food systems, the future of food and how climate change is affecting our food systems and what all of us can do about it.

Seed Swap and Book Talk at SCP Redmond Hotel*

From books to seeds, wonderful and delicious things come in small packages. Trade seeds, plant greens and tell stories as we celebrate The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson in the beautiful SCP Hotel's event space.

The Right to Know: Honoring Native American Sovereignty

Dr. Jennifer O’Neal highlights the importance of honoring Native American sovereignty by centering Indigenous protocols, knowledge and traditions in histories and collections. This presentation highlights specific examples from her work with tribal communities in Central Oregon.

The Auntie Way: Celebrating Kindness, Fierceness, and Creativity*

Celebrate the strength and generosity of Aunties from the Yakama Reservation and beyond. In this talk, Dr. Michelle M. Jacob reads from her book, The Auntie Way, and discusses the importance of Indigenous feminisms in traditional Plateau teachings and how Indigenous education can be a powerful source of inspiration for all peoples.

Youth Programs for “A Novel Idea”

Art with a Dog*

In I Can Make This Promise, the dog Edie calls Bruno inspires her school film project. At this program, we’ll spend an hour with a good dog as our creative muse. Intended for children ages 6-11. Registration required.

I Can Make This Promise: Postcard Grab-and-Go Kits

In times prior to texting and email, Edith kept in touch with her family via postcard. Explore this delightful analog communication method for yourself. Make your own art and message, and send your postcard. Grab a kit at your local library branch. Intended for children ages 6-11; supplies limited.

I Can Make This Promise: Art Grab-and-Go Kits

Edie was a prolific artist. She drew landscapes, the dog Bruno and many other subjects. Try your hand at art with a Grab-and-Go kit available at your local library branch. Intended for children ages 6-11; supplies limited.

I Can Make This Promise: Your Next Book Kids Edition

If you liked this book, tune in to hear about some great read-alike books that are similar.

I Can Make This Promise: Christine Day in Conversation with Students*

Share in conversation and lively discussion with Christine Day, author of I Can Make This Promise.

Book Club Discussions

I Can Make This Promise

The Seed Keeper

For more information about A Novel Idea, please contact Liz Goodrich at (541) 312-1032 or Explore the “A Novel Idea” website at event listings and author information.

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ news sources


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content