“Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story”

“Using brief statements that begin ‘fry bread is,’ Kevin Noble Maillard, who is a member of the Mekusukey band of the Seminole Nation tribe, creates a powerful meditation on the food as ‘a cycle of heritage and fortune.’  The beautiful illustrations are by Juana Martinez-Neal.” Publishers Weekly

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard

Excerpt: Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

In each spread, descriptions of fry bread range from the experiential (flavor, sound) to the more conceptual (nation, place). Bolstering the bold statements, spare poems emphasize fry bread in terms of provenance (‘Fry bread is history/ The long walk, the stolen land’), culture (‘Fry bread is art/ Sculpture, landscape, portrait’), and community (‘Fry bread is time/ On weekdays and holidays/ Supper or dinner/ Powwows and festivals’).

In blues and browns with bright highlights, Martinez-Neal’s wispy art features a diverse group of six children carrying ingredients and learning about each statement.

A fry bread recipe concludes the book, and an author’s note offers vital, detailed context about this varied dish and its complex history (“The story of fry bread is the story of American Indians”). Ages 3–6. (Oct.)

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-62672-746-5

Category: Culture, Social