Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

by Kevin Noble Maillard

Other authorsJuana Martinez-Neal (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2019



Local notes

E Mai




Roaring Brook Press (2019), 48 pages


Using illustrations that show the diversity in Native America and spare poetic text that emphasizes fry bread in terms of provenance, this volume tells the story of a post-colonial food that is a shared tradition for Native American families all across the North American continent. Includes a recipe and an extensive author note that delves into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized tribes.


Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Picture Book — 2022)
Monarch Award (Nominee — 2022)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 2022)
Red Clover Book Award (Nominee — 2021)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 2022)
Mitten Award (Honor — 2020)
North Carolina Children's Book Award (Nominee — Picture Book — 2021)
Charlotte Zolotow Award (Honor Book — 2020)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 2022)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — Young Readers — 2021)
Ladybug Picture Book Award (Nominee — 2020)
Charlotte Huck Award (Recommended Book — 2020)
American Indian Youth Literature Award (Honor Book — Picture Book — 2020)
Notable Children's Book (Younger Readers — 2020)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

48 p.; 9.86 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member riofriotex
This book won the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award. It was also an American Indian Youth Literature Award Picture Book honor title, a Charlotte Huck Award Commended title, and a Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor Book. The illustrations were done in acrylics, colored pencils, and graphite
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on hand-textured paper and have a soft feel to them. The author provides a recipe for fry bread at the end, as well as a page with references and [end]notes. In between the recipe and that last page, there is a lengthy eight-page author's note where the author provides lots more details about each double-page spread, including what's in the illustrations. Those spreads all start out "Fry bread is ___," (specifically, food, shape, sound, color, flavor, time, art, history, place, nation, everything, us, you) with a few other descriptive sentences, making this book usable with younger children, while the author's note can extend the usage for older kids.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Native American journalist Kevin Noble Maillard, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, makes his children's book debut in this lovely picture-book tribute to fry bread, a staple of many native peoples' diet. Using simple but poetic text, he explores the shapes, colors, sounds and flavors of
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fry bread. More importantly, he explores its role in the Native American family, and its importance as a symbol of Native American resilience. His text is paired with charming artwork from Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal (she was honored for Alma and How She Got Her Name), and accompanied by an extensive afterword giving more information...

I have been looking forward to Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story since I first learned it was coming out, and am grateful to have been given the opportunity to read it a little ahead of its release date, later this month (October 2019). Unlike the other reviewers so far, this wasn't a five-star title for me, although I did find it excellent overall. I loved the ideas of this book, I loved the artwork, and I loved the detailed seven-page afterword, with its history of fry bread, and its information about some of the culturally significant objects used in the illustrations. I also loved the endpapers, which give an alphabet listing of all (I assume?) Native nations and peoples in the United States. All that said, the text itself, although serviceable, didn't particularly impress me, and while this didn't ruin the book for me (witness the four-star rating), it did prevent me from feeling emotionally involved in it, in that way I had hoped to be. Reactions vary, and I appear to be in the minority here, so I'd still strongly recommend this one, both to anyone looking for picture-books about food and family in general, or about Native American cultures specifically.
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LibraryThing member villemezbrown
Goodreads Choice Awards Project: Read as many of the Best Picture Book nominees as possible. 2 to go!

Nice art, but the story section didn't really do anything for me. The eight-page Author's Note at the end though was very fascinating, especially the negative feelings some indigenous people have
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against fry bread. Bonus star for that.
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LibraryThing member LibrarianRyan
This book is everything. It’s the only way to put it. The story that could be read at story time is nice and sweet about how a special type of food is home, a memory, a loved one. The the back materials, everything from the recipe to the information about what each stanza or page means is
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astounding. It’s a history lesson in the form of bread. And It is thoroughly engrossing. The illustrations are lovely, and there is such thought behind each and everyone, which you find out more about as your read the back matter. This book was simply wonderful and needs to be in all library collections.
+16 #TBRread
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LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Fry bread is a common food found in many Native American homes and this book provides homage to how it brings people together.

This book, told in evocative language with just a few lines per page, stirs up pleasant feelings about how cooking as a family (or with friends) makes everyone happier. But
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it's not all sunshine and roses, as one page spread reminds about the hardships indigenous people have gone through. Still the overall vibe is positive in the main text, which is accompanied by gentle illustrations that also evoke warmth while displaying diverse people and including small details from several tribal traditions.

The book concludes with a lengthy and informative author's note, in which he breaks down each page spread with additional information about indigenous history (including current events/status) as well his own family traditions. In this author's note, Maillard also talks about the small visual clues that can easily be overlooked on the first time a reader goes through the book (e.g., how the names of people involved in the production of this book are seen "carved" into the counter on the final page of the main text).

This was an excellent book, and I definitely recommend it to others. Specifically, I recommend reading it more than once (including the author's note) as there are many details to absorb.
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LibraryThing member katelynamy
This book is all about a Native American family and how they practice their culture in America. This book details information about how this family bring the past to the present with simple acts, and they stick together with their culture. I give this book a 5 out of 5 star rating because many
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students can relate to this. In my content area I would have the students give examples of what they do to keep their culture alive.
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LibraryThing member mxa107
The book shares the story of Native American fry bread. Fry bread is a food that brings culture, heritage, and unity. Not only is the storyline sweet and amazing, it includes vocabulary and history. This book can be read to students when going over Native American history or when leaning about
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different cultures or traditions.
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LibraryThing member RaeganZuyus
I really enjoyed this book. It follows the making and importance of Fry bread and how much it means to Native American Culture. I think this would be so important to use in the classroom to show students a new cultural food, and how much where the origin of the food comes from and how they make it
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means to their culture. I also would use it to show the diversity of Native American culture, and all the places their people come from.
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LibraryThing member ppolanco
This was such a fun and informative read. It helped me gain a better understanding of the Native American culture. I loved the descriptions and illustrations. This book felt warm, gentle and inviting. Fry Bread is a universal food that many of us are familiar with. Food brings people together,
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despite our differences. I think it is crucial to learn about new cultures to better understand the world around us. Even doing something so simple as finding out where a food is from and how it is made is an incredible start. This was a beautiful and well-written book that was easy to follow. We all need to remember to dive deeper and discover new things about the people and world around us because both appreciation and recognition is so important.
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LibraryThing member sloth852
Food is a big part of Thanksgiving, and as I like reading books by indigenous authors around Thanksgiving, this story about the place of fry bread in the family culture resonated with me.




(141 ratings; 4.4)
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