Life Without Nico

Andrea Maturana
Francisco Javier Olea

Maia and Nico are best friends. They never get tired of playing together. Unexpectedly, though, Nico and his family have to move far away for a while. Maia is devastated. “Now time passes slowly, and the emptiness is with Maia everywhere she goes.” She makes her way through the dark days, bored and alone. But, slowly, things begin to change, and “... Maia meets an unexpected companion ... She makes a new friend ... She even discovers a new passion.” Her life has become so happy and full, in fact, that she worries there will no longer be enough room for Nico. Of course, when he returns, she discovers there is. As Maia learns, “There is always space in your heart for friendship.”

This poetic, touching picture book written by Andrea Maturana is sure to move readers of any age. It sensitively explores a child's capacity for friendship and the range of feelings experienced while trying to cope with loss. Losing a friend is a common childhood experience, and this book would offer a perfect opportunity for a classroom discussion on this or any kind of loss. It speaks to the resilience of children as well, and the experience of growing up and discovering that welcoming new things and people into your life doesn't mean losing the old. The sweet artwork by Francisco Javier Olea uses warm, muted colors that reinforce the reassuring tone of the story, as well as magical imagery that enhances its emotional depth.

978-1-77138-611-1 | Apr 1, 2016
List Price: USD $16.95, CAD $18.95
4-color 7.5 x 9 36 pages
Grades: Pre-K To 2 / Ages: 4 to 7
978-1-77138-693-7 | Apr 1, 2016
List Price: USD $9.99, CAD $9.99

Educational Resources

Adult Directed

Awards & Reviews

“... Maturana's minimal, lyrical text, set in a wistful, handwritten-style font, embellishes the artwork and beautifully modulates the mood from melancholy to lighthearted.”
— Publishers Weekly, January 2016
“Empathy brims on the pages of this artful and articulate book about overwhelming feeling.”
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review, January 2016
“Reassuring without being patronizing, this helps explain a challenging life event with insight and a light touch ...”
— Booklist, February 2016
“... a deceptively simple story which explores complex themes of friendship, loss, loneliness, grief, depression and love.”
— CM Magazine, May 2016
“This thoughtful and well-done exploration of loss and recovery is an important addition to library collections.”
— School Library Journal, June 2016
“... highly recommended for both librarians and teachers as an excellent conversation starter when discussing loss with children.”
— Resource Links, June 2016
“... [an] astute, sensitive tale of friendship and separation ...”
— The New York Times, June 2016
2017 - Best Children's Books of the Year, Outstanding Merit selection, Bank Street College, Winner
2016 - Best Picture Books of 2016, Kirkus Reviews, Winner
2016 - CCBC Choices List, Cooperative Children's Book Center, Winner

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