January 31, 2020

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 5:08 pm by suebe2

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
by Kevin Noble Maillard
illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Roaring Brook Press

Fry bread is food.
“It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.

Fry bread is time.
It brings families together for meals and new memories.

Fry bread is nation.
It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.

At 48 pages, Fry Bread is slightly longer than the norm for a picture book.  The more typical length is 32 pages.  But Maillard has written a book in fast-moving, fact-filled verse.  Mallaird tells a fast-paced story about making this tasty treat.  He also explains that it is more than that – it is tradition in the face of struggle.

The moment I saw this book, I wanted to read it.  I had to read it.  Fry bread may be my favorite bread ever.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with fry bread, it is a indigenous treat.  Although I had never thought about it, there are as many recipes for fry bread as there are for meatloaf or cornbread or chili.  Think about the dish that you love as long as it is your grandmother’s or mother’s recipe.  Me?  Meatloaf has to be like Mom’s and cherry pie like G-ma’s.  Now you understand a bit about fry bread.  Why had I never considered the variety of breads?  At our local pow wows, the fry bread is a fist-sized pillow.  Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  It is likely regional.

The beauty of this book is that it honors this variety.  It discusses the wide variety of breads, shapes, and textures.  It also presents young readers with the reality that the people who make it are just as varied and they are still among us today.

Monday as I read over the books that had received awards from the American Library Association, I was thrilled to find Fry Bread on the list.  It is the winner of the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award.

This is Mallaird’s first book.  His clean, powerful text was paired with the acryllic and pencil illustrations of Juana Martinez-Neal.  Her art brings the people to life.

Share this book with the young readers in your lives and be prepared for their request to try fry bread.   You’ll need to have butter and honey on hand because, really?  That’s the best way to eat it.


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