On My Honor

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On My Honor is a short Newbery Honor-winning novel by Marion Dane Bauer, first published in 1986.[1] The book is frequently read in the United States as part of the elementary school curriculum. Book level is 4.7, and has 97 pages.


When Joel is told by his father not to go anywhere beyond the bike path he and his friend are supposed to be riding on, Joel promises, "On my honor." Joel and Tony are best friends despite their different characteristics. Tony, who is adventurous, challenges Joel, who is more responsible and cautious, to climb a large and dangerous cliff called Starved Rock. Joel does not want anyone to get hurt, yet he also does not want to seem like a coward in front of Tony. Joel suggests a swimming race in a forbidden treacherous river, despite the fact that Tony is not a good swimmer. Joel ends up winning the race, but when he turns to look back at Tony, he finds that he has disappeared. Tony has drowned in the river they were told never to swim in. Joel tries to find Tony in the river, but gets sucked into a current himself. However, he grabs a log, and manages to pull himself to safety. Joel lives with the horrible secret until Tony and Joel's family find out. Joel decides to confess what has happened. Joel's father also feels blame in Tony's death. He tries to comfort Joel to sleep once the cops leave.


Preceded by
Cracker Johnson
Winner of the
William Allen White Children's Book Award

Succeeded by