Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story written by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal is a book to love and read over and over again. This is the story of American Indians embracing not only the making of fry bread but all that it symbolizes. The first time I read this book to a group of third graders, I just let the story sink in as the processed the layers of meaning. But as always, we came back to the book again and again and each time they zoomed in a bit closer on the ideas in the book.
Fry Bread is Time.
When my family and I get together to make tamales, it takes time too. But dad is really funny so he also tells stories while we cook. Like in the book, when they get together for dinner and festivals. What is a powwow Ms. Villalba?”
Fry Bread is Art.
I wonder why we don’t see American Indians art more often when I go shopping. Where are they selling their artwork? Why can’t we find it everywhere?
Fry Bread is History
Ms. Villalba, when do we study more about American Indians? What are the different names? Why does the recognition process is long? (taken from the author’s note from the back of the book).
What is the Trial of Tears? Who said it was ok to remove them from their lands?”
This book opened up these third graders world to a world that they sadly may not have a lot of background on. Learning about Native Americans through this book brought a lot of questions, I wonder’s and it also brought a lot of realization that as educational institutions we have to do a better job of teaching our learners about American Indians. Reading this book is a beginning and digging deep into the Author’s Notes at the end of the book is definitely the next step as it provides a wonderful foundation for conversations, knowledge and more questions.