Maia and What Matters



illustrated by

Maia is an impatient little scamp. When something pops into her head, she wants it. Now! Right this minute! Her grandma’s just the same and they get along like a house on fire. One day Grandma falls ill and loses her control over words. The grown-ups don’t seem to understand her, but Maia never loses sight of her strong, wonderful grandma and knows exactly what she means.


A beautiful and accessible book about the enduring relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter in the face of illness and aging.





Possibly the most beautiful picture book of the year.

While disability and death may seem like very dark themes for a children’s picture book, they are handled with such understanding and positivity that this distinctive and stunning book should resonate with a wide audience.

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.

Maia joins an international canon of great picture books on things that go missing: memories, the freedom to move or express oneself, the physical presence of loved ones. These are books that are great because of their ability to move us, to teach us, and to give words to the things we wish we didn't have to face.

With beautifully intricate illustrations from Kaatje Vermeire [...] Maia and What Matters is no easy read [...] but like the accompanying illustrations, Tine Mortier deals with these themes so delicately and with such a deft hand, your focus remains on the love between Maia and her Grandma, and how these themes – or tragic events in Maia’s life – help her to grow as a character.

Tine Mortier has written an incredibly emotive and meticulous story about Maia, a beautiful young girl with a lively spirit and an active imagination.

I can’t say enough good things about this production from the brave and non-sentimental story it tells to the amazing images covering each generous page which not only reflect what is happening but takes the reader beyond the story to explore more ideas.

A stunning and unusual book exploring friendship across the generations, illness and ageing.

The illustrations by Kaatje Vermeire reflect the text in a manner that I have rarely encountered, they are perfect and what words don`t say, these illustrations do, they bring a depth of emotion that children will be able to see and talk about with the adult reading to them.



Kaatje Vermeire is just one of the great illustrators currently working on the continent, who are strangely underappreciated by English speaking audiences.


Book information

340 x 235
Publishing date: 
October, 2013
David Colmer