Fry Bread: A Native American Family Tradition by Kevin Noble Maillard, Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal [CeCe’s Book Review]

Fry Bread: A Native American Family StoryFry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story is Kevin Noble Maillard’s debut picture book that captured the hearts of many of my bookish friends who had the fortune of getting their hands on an advance reading copy earlier this year. It kept showing up in my Twitter feed. The cover made me slow my scroll because of Juana Martinez-Neal’s art. That and the fact that it is an #OwnVoices book. Kevin Noble Maillard is a member of the Seminole Nation, Mekusukey band. I have been working towards acquiring books for our elementary library collection that are reflective of the perspective of Native Americans, historically speaking and present-day because as was pointed out in the Author’s Note, “Native America is not a past history of vanished people and communities. We are still here.”

I loved Fry Bread. It is a book about food and tradition but it is also about resilience in the face of adversity. It’s about the time we spend with family and the loving memories we create that will live on for generations to come.  It is a celebration of Native pride in all shades and colors, an homage to Native tribes-those that have been acknowledged by the United States government and those smaller tribes that have yet to be. Readers can enjoy this book with their families throughout the entire year but if you have been searching like I have for books that you can offer your students during Native American Heritage Month and Indigenous Peoples’ Day, this is a good book for you to add.

As the family works together to make fry bread and the story comes to an end, just wait until you see all of the great content in the backmatter of this gem. There you will find a recipe for Fry Bread. I appreciate books with recipes in them so much because I love to cook and my students do too. There is also an incredibly thorough Author’s Note that will add to the discussion in your classroom and home. The endpapers are filled with the names of Native American tribes and the pages are beautifully illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. I have grown to admire her work this year as I read books like La Madre Goose and La Princesa and the Pea (both written by Susan Middleton Elya).

View all my reviews


Kevin Noble Maillard |

Juana Martinez-Neal |

Roaring Brook Press |

Borrowed from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

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