Sold out


Mahak Jain

Elly Mackay

The electricity in Maya’s house has gone out again. She is afraid of the dark — and her fear has been even worse since her father died. Now it feels as if the darkness will never go away.

Maya’s mother distracts her with a legend about the banyan tree, which saved the world from the first monsoon by drinking up the floodwaters, and growing tall and strong. Later that night, unsettled by the noises around her, Maya revisits the story in her imagination. She ventures deep into the banyan tree, where she discovers not darkness but life: snakes move gently, monkeys laugh, and elephants dance. Maya pushes her imagination even further to call up memories of her father, helping to soothe her fear and assuage her grief.

Elly MacKay mixes miniature-paper-theater art with spellbinding shadow puppetry to play with darkness and light, giving Maya’s real, fantasy, and story-within-a-story worlds unique treatment—and making Maya’s world come alive on the page. Mahak Jain, Elly Mackay
Regular price $16.95
Regular price Sale price $16.95

SKU: 198436n0nn1nWWW | ISBN: 9781771471008

"An important and subtle story of love, loss, beauty, and joy." - Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"Recommended." - Canadian Review of Materials

"Beautifully illustrated... Highlight[s] the discovery of beauty and strength in unlikely places." - Quill & Quire

"An atmospheric tale about loss, the power of story, and finding light in the darkness." - School Library Journal

"...the idea that bad things can turn good is clear, and kids will sense Maya's ultimate healing." - The National Reading Campaign

"Nothing short of magical, breath-taking and inspiring... Highly, highly recommended and very very close to essential." - Kinderlit

"Richly poetic...engaging...gorgeous... Papa once told Maya that "a story was like a bird," flying us to somewhere unknown and always changing us. And so it is with this book." - Canadian Children's Book News

"This story made me feel a little bit kind of happy and kind of sad. Some feelings that [Maya] had, I sometimes have. Sometimes I am sad too but still finding a way to be happy. She was scared and I get scared too. ...I love this book." - Ayla, age 6, Kids Book Buzz

Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens,

Kirkus Best Picture Books of 2016,

South Asia Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature selection, 2017,

View full details

Publication date

April 15, 2016

Number of pages



Reading Comprehension

Lexile® Level


Interest age

From 4 to 8