'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 14 November 2013

Review: Maia and What Matters

Maia and her grandma are two peas in a pod. They both like life to be fun and exciting. They are impatient and don’t like to wait for anything. Together, they have a wonderful time exploring and enjoying life.

One day, Grandma becomes ill and loses control over her words. The grown-ups fuss and bother, but they don’t seem to be able to understand what Grandma really wants. Maia knows that her Grandma is still strong and wonderful and she knows exactly what she means.

This touching and emotional story about a young girl and her grandmother celebrates the connection between the generations.

The text by Flemish author Tine Mortier, translated by Australian David Colmer, captures the realities of aging and death as seen by a young child. Grandfather’s death is seen as matter of fact and easy to comprehend in comparison with Grandmother’s illness which leaves her body unchanged, but a barrier in place that prevents her vibrant personality from shining through.

Beautiful illustrations by Kaatje Vermeire intensify the emotion of the story – the unbound love of life shared by Maia and her grandmother as well as the confusion and frustrations of Grandmother’s illness and the soft, sad passing of Maia’s grandfather. The illustrations convey their own emotion, helping younger children to more fully connect with the emotion of the text.

Maia and What Matters is obviously not an everyday bedtime story or book to read casually with young children. It is, however, a wonderful way to prompt conversation about the health of older relatives and the way aging can impact relationships between children and older family and friends. The death of Grandfather and the hospitalisation of Grandmother could also spark important discussions with children dealing with these issues in their own lives.

Maia and What Matters has been selected as one of the 50 best children's books of 2013 by the New Zealand Listener.

Title: Maia and What Matters
Author: Tine Mortier
Illustrator: Kaatje Vermeire
Translater: David Colmer
Publisher: Book Island, $ RRP
Publication Date:
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780987669667
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book

You can find out more about Maia and What Matters by visiting the following websites participating in the Meet Maia Blog Tour:

Monday 11th November
Beattie’s Book Blog (NZ)
Launch of the Blog Tour

Booksellers New Zealand
Guest blog by Emily Duizend from Story Island about the Story Bridge project

The Caker’s Blog (NZ)
Launch of the Baking and Writing Competition (restricted to New Zealand)

My Book Corner (AU/UK)
Book review and giveaway

Tuesday 12th November
Playing By The Book (UK)
Interview with the illustrator, Kaatje Vermeire, and giveaway

Stephanie Owen Reeder (AU)
Book review

Wednesday 13th November
Wellington Kids’ Blog (NZ)
Interview with the author, Tine Mortier

Munch Cooking (NZ)
Book review and giveaway

My Little Bookcase (AU)
Book review and giveaway

Thursday 14th November
Bee's Bookish Blog (NZ)
Feature: The Missing - books for difficult times

Kids' Book Review (AU) (that's us!)
Interview with the translator, David Colmer, and giveaway

Friday 15th November
Around the Bookshops (NZ)
Book review

Book review and giveaway

Buzz Words (AU)
Interview with the publisher, Greet Pauwelijn, and giveaway