Maia and Nico are the very best of friends, spending all of their time together. When Nico and his family move far away for a little while, Maia is left with a hole in her life that she thinks will never be filled. Eventually, though, she meets a furry companion, makes a new friend and even discovers a new passion. Her life feels full once again. When it’s finally time for Nico to return, Maia worries --- does she still have enough room in her life for her old friend? This heartfelt story explores complex childhood emotions: the sadness of loneliness, the uncertainty of the unknown and the joy of new experiences. A tender tale about a deeply felt friendship, Life Without Nico will win over readers of all ages.
When Maia's best friend Nico moves to Australia for an extended time, "the emptiness follows Maia everywhere she goes," in this story first published in Mexico. Several spreads of the book, the English-language debut for both Maturana and Olea, dwell on Maia's lonely unhappiness, but eventually life goes on: Maia gets a kitten, makes a new friend, discovers a love for the piano, and "with the arrival of spring, everything begins to bloom." When Nico's return becomes imminent, Maia grows worried: "Her life has become so full. Will there be enough room for Nico, too?" Using expressionistic graphic elements and an offbeat palette of brown, yellow, and teal, Olea's drawings capture moments that are both recognizably realistic (Nico's father points on a map to show just how far away the family is moving) and deeply private: when Maia is at her lowest point, Olea shows her forlornly looking through a huge, schematically drawn telescope at very distant stars. Maturana's minimal, lyrical text, set in a wistful, handwritten-style font, embellishes the artwork and beautifully modulates the mood from melancholy to lighthearted. Ages 4 7.