Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal

“Fry bread is food … Fry bread is shape … Fry bread is sound …... read more

“Fry bread is food … Fry bread is shape … Fry bread is sound … Fry bread is time … Fry bread is history …” Specific characteristics and cultural importance of fry bread, part of Native American tradition across many tribal nations, is celebrated in a picture book that appeals to the senses while also encompassing complex concepts. Each characteristic of fry bread is expanded on with child– friendly examples described in vivid language. “The skillet clangs / The fire blazes from below … On weekdays and holidays / Supper or dinner / Powwows and festivals … The long walk / the stolen land …” Maillard’s exceptional writing is paired with cozy illustrations by Martinez-Neal that show realistic variety in hair, eye, and skin colors of Indigenous peoples. Her circular shapes exude a sense of home and security, with small children embraced and surrounded by their elders. The end pages echo this diversity with their extensive lists of many Indigenous nations in the United States, both those recognized by the government and those that aren’t, affirming the identities of so many Native children. Maillard’s thorough, fascinating author’s note offers more information and context for each double-page spread in this masterful original picture book. Honor Book, 2020 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 3–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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