Wednesday, March 13, 2019

An early look at the endpapers in FRY BREAD by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal

On Monday (March 11, 2019), I was on Twitter and saw this tweet about Fry Bread, written by Kevin Noble Maillard (he's a member of the Seminole Nation, Mekusukey band) and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal:



I knew this book was in the works and that it would be out this year. So, of course, I clicked on the link right away and read the interview! Here's the full cover (from John Schu's blog):



In the first part of the interview, Kevin talked about his joy at seeing the grandma and grandson on the cover. He said that we don't see that kind of cover--that pairing--on children's books, and as I sift through my memory, I think he's right. I cannot recall a cover of a Native grandma and her grandchild! Grandma's in Native families are so important. This is a delightful image!

Next, John Schu had a comment for Juana. As I read his words and Juana's reply, it was clear to me that he has learned a lot over the years since I first came to know him on Twitter. He said:
Juana, I think Fry Bread's endpapers are the most powerful endpapers I've ever seen.
What, you might be wondering, would make him say that? Juana replied:
Oh, this means so much! You have no idea. I normally figure out the endpapers for the book while I'm deep in the middle of sketching the interior spreads. But this book was different. While I was working on ideas and thumbnails for Fry Bread, the idea for what the endpapers should show came to mind. It was a feeling. I could see the children and parents following the names with their fingers looking for the name of their Nation or Tribe.
I was riveted with her words and what those endpapers might look like, so I wrote to Kevin to ask him. He told me how they made hundreds of phone calls to tribal offices to confirm the way they would be listed. I was even more intrigued! "Kevin, please... can I see them?" Soon after, he sent me the endpapers. And I did exactly what Juana said she imagined Native parents doing.... I looked and looked till I found Nambé (update on Friday March 15 at 11:05 AM: when the final copy is published, the letter e in Nambé will have the accent mark):



The endpapers at the front and back of the book are full of names of tribal nations. What you see there is an enlarged screen cap. On the actual page, our tribal name fills a tiny bit of space but in my heart, it is huge. I want that book in my hands right now so I can show it to people. Fry Bread comes out in October of this year.

I cannot wait to give this book to kids at Nambé. As soon as I get a copy of the book, I will be back with a full review.


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