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Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story Hardcover – Illustrated, October 22, 2019
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“Through the story and the book's beautiful pictures, Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal capture the complexity of native identity.” ―Graham Lee Brewer, NPR
“A wonderful and sweet book [that] takes a staple food of many tribes across the country and uses it to think about family, history, memory and community. . . Lovely stuff.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“With buoyant, heartfelt illustrations that show the diversity in Native America, the book tells the story of a post-colonial food, a shared tradition across the North American continent . . . Through this topic that includes the diversity of so many Native peoples in a single story, Maillard (Mekusukey Seminole) promotes unity and familiarity among nations. Fry bread is much more than food, as this book amply demonstrates.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Fry Bread celebrates the thing itself and much, much more . . . Maillard and Martinez-Neal bring depth, detail, and whimsy to this Native American food story, with text and illustrations depicting the diversity of indigenous peoples, the role of continuity between generations, and the adaptation over time of people, place, and tradition.” ―Booklist, starred review
“A powerful meditation” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This warm and charming book shows and affirms Native lives. The informational text and expressive drawings give it broad appeal.” ―School Library Journal, starred review
“Rich with smells and sounds, Fry Bread radiates with Native American pride, the sharing of traditions and the love of family.” ―Book Page, starred review
“An affecting picture book that features family and friends gathering, creating and enjoying fry bread together. Glorious . . . [Back matter] augments the simple, sincere verses with illuminating edification for older readers . . . Remarkable in balancing the shared delights of extended family with onerous ancestral legacy, Maillard both celebrates and bears witness to his no-single-recipe-fits-all community.” ―Shelf Awareness, starred review
About the Author
Juana Martinez-Neal is an illustrator of books for children, including the Pura Belpre Award winner La Princesa and the Pea. She made her authorial debut in 2018 with Alma and How She Got Her Name, which was awarded the Caldecott Honor. Juana was born in Lima, Peru, where she grew up surrounded by amazing meals prepared by her mom and amazing paintings made by her dad and grandad. She now lives, eats, and paints in Scottsdale, Arizona, surrounded by her amazing children.
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A beautiful book to read aloud with illustrations that your students will want to return to and examine over and over again. Maillard, a member of the Seminole Nation, Mekusukey band, describes in simple verse not only this the physical properties of fry bread (which will make you want some) but also what fry bread represents to those who make and eat it--time, art, history, place, nation. Juan Martinez-Neal's illustrations are rich, beautiful, engaging for our youngest readers/learners.
READING THE AUTHOR'S NOTE (for ourself) or back matter is critical to helping our k-3 students make the most of this book. As I read the author's note--I realized how much I missed in Martinez-Neal's illustrations and in the meaning of Maillard's carefully chose words--the Indigenous people's art (placed carefully in the illustrations at various points), the choice of who to represent (in the illustrations and in the words) and so forth. I'd want to keep an eye on what Maillard includes in the notes as I present two-page layouts in the book to students and ask, "What do you notice?" and "Why do you think the illustrator made those choices?" or "Why do you think the author chose this word?"
Maillard's notes also highlight how there's not one kind of fry bread--fry bread looks different across families and even within a family and yet it still serves to represent. This idea provides so much content for thoughtful conversations with students.
Honestly, I think this could be read aloud or read-by-a-small group-of-students in grades k-8 for different purposes. Older students could read and discuss the back matter and then revisit the author's word choice and evaluate more thoughtfully the illustrator's choices.
Fry Bread has many uses in a classroom situation. When teaching categories, the book could be used to describe the many categories fry bread could fit into - shape, sound, food, and more. Author Kevin Maillard is a member of the Seminole Nation and understands the Native culture. He chose poetry as his means to tell the categories of fry bread. He closes the book with a recipe, directions for making fry bread, and an author’s note which gives further details about each category in the book.
Illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal used acrylics, colored pencils, and graphite to illustrate the text. They are beautiful and include people of many colors. They complement the text well.
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story received Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children. It was also a Picture Book Honor choice for the American Indian Youth Literature award.
I will be adding Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story to my K-12 Christian School library. It will be a great addition to a unit about Native Americans.
I borrowed a copy from my local public library. This is my honest review.
The bit at the end, about the history and recipes for Fry Bread brings the content of this picture book together.
Wonderful book to share with kids of all sorts. Because, really, food is home.
The only negative for me and it’s a small but annoying one is the boom cover. The books sleeve has the great design but the actual cover doesn’t. I take the sleeves off because kindergarteners will accidentally destroy them as they move about and one the cover there isn’t an author or title.