Life Without Nico, Andrea Maturana, Kids Can Press, 2016.

Life Without Nico is another fantastic book from Kids Can Press.

Maia and Nico are best friends. They can spend hours playing together and never get bored. Then, unexpectedly, Nico and his family leave behind their South American home for the land of koalas and kangaroos.

Maia is devasted.

“Now time passes slowly, and the emptiness is with Maia everywhere she goes.”

The beautiful, poetic writing from Andrea Maturana is moving as it unveils the deep emotions connected to true friendship. The emptiness follows Maia around. The art work by Francisco Javier Olea with the use of warm, muted colors reinforces the emotion connected to such emptiness.

Then, almost as unexpectedly as Nico leaving, Maia begins to fill the emptiness in her life. A pet cat. Learning the piano. A new friend.

Then, when Nico returns, there are mixed emotions. Through the experience Maia learns that “There is always space in your heart for friendship.”

Life Without Nico is an honest look at the emotions of loss for a child.

The brilliance of this book is the way it sensitively explores with children friendship and the feelings related to coping with loss. Olea’s illustrations enhance the emotional depth of the story. Whether in the classroom or in a children’s ministry setting, this book provides a great opportunity for discussion with children in grades K-2 about any kind of loss.

You can purchase your own copy by clicking on the image below:

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.