The Power of Story

What are you afraid of? Spiders? Heights? Clowns?

For Maya, it’s the dark—a fear that’s only grown worse ever since her father died. Now when the lights go out in Maya’s home in India, she worries the darkness will never fade. In hopes of distracting Maya from her fears, Maya’s mom tells her daughter the legend of a banyan tree that saved the world from a monsoon.

Later, when a sleepless Maya is still uneasy about the noises at night, she transports herself deep into the shadows of the banyan tree. It’s there she encounters tigers, elephants, monkeys, peacocks and snakes. It’s there she discovers a world not of darkness, but of light.

With its flowing narrative and beautiful spreads of miniature-paper-theater art, Maya reminds children about finding strength in the most unlikely of places.

Want to find out more about Maya? Owlkids travelled to Owen Sound, Ontario to film a behind-the-scenes Q&A video with the author Mahak Jain and illustrator Elly MacKay at Elly’s studio.

Did you know Elly and Mahak didn’t meet until after the book was printed? How did they make sure Maya’s art reflected life in India accurately?

Watch as Elly demonstrates how she creates her illustrations, how Mahak and Elly collaborated without ever meeting, and the reason Mahak picked those five animals for the story. Link here.

Books mentioned in this post:

Maya

Maya

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