A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lots of facts about fry bread -- its ingredients, how it's cooked, when it's eaten. But also some Native American history ("The long walk, the stolen land"), a list of U.S. states where fry bread is eaten (Alaska, Kansas, Maine, Delaware, Georgia, Oaklahoma, Colorado, California), and a list of the Native American Nations that eat fry bread: "Abenaki, Apache, Arapahoe/ Ojibwe, Onondaga, Oglala Sioux/ Naragansett, Navajo, Mipmuc/ Seminole, Shoshone, Sac & Fox/ Hundreds and hundreds of tribes." An Author's Note gives fuller explanations of each of the topics in the main story -- about the ingredients, shape, sound, color, flavor, etc. of fry bread -- that draw from the author's own family memories. There's also a complete recipe for "Kevin's Fry Bread."
Fry bread brings us together. "We are still here/ Elder and young/ Friend and neighbor/ We strengthen each other/ To learn, change, and survive." There's not just one way to make fry bread -- you can create your own recipe.
Positive Role Models
The diverse kids who are depicted are cheerful, helpful, and respctful. The elders are kind and patient, sharing stories of history and family.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, by Kevin Noble Maillard, highlights the importance of a certain food in generations of a family and in the culture they share. With spare text and warm illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, the author shows that fry bread is not just food but also art, history, a sense of place, and more. "Fry bread is us." The characters are diverse, with many different skin and hair colors and ages represented.
Is It Any Good?
This warm look at a certain dish a family shows its larger cultural and historical significance and celebrates its role in connecting people through time. The spare text is sensual and evocative, capturing details like the sound of the sizzle in the pan as the puffy bread cooks and describing its color, "Light like snow and cream/ Warm like rays of sun."
Fry Bread can spark a discussion of what heritage foods your family eats and what recipes have been handed down for generations. It also doesn't shy away from the painful parts of of Native American history: "The long walk, the stolen land/ Strangers in our own world/ With unknown food/ We made new recipes/ From what we had." It's a story of resilience and joy. "Fry bread is us/ We are still here."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.