On My Honor

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For the band, see On My Honor (band).

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 elementary school curricular. The title "On My Honor" is taken from a promise Joel makes to his father about not going anywhere out from the house.


When Joel is told not to go anywhere beyond the bike path they are supposed to be riding on, Joel says, "On my Honor," redirecting it from the book title. Joel and Tony are friends despite their very different characters. Tony, who is adventurous, challenges Joel, who is more responsible and cautious, to climb a large and dangerous cliff called Starved Rock. Joel knows and does not want anyone to get hurt, yet 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's 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 to never 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's and Joel's families find out. Joel decided to tell the story about what had happened to Tony and was very angry with himself. Joel's father also feels blame in the death for not knowing that Tony was not to go to Starved Rock. Joel's father comforts Joel as he goes to sleep.


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

Succeeded by