maija and the forest

  • author: Viesturs Ķerus
  • illustrator: Didzis Upens

isbn: 978-9934-574-32-0

size: 165x210 mm

quantity: p. 96

year: 2019

price: 11.00 €

Maija lives with her family in the forest in an old ranger's house. Her dad studies birds and often takes Maija along on bird watching and ringing expeditions, explains the various processes in nature and introduces her to animals.

The book begins with an event on a cold winter morning - a lost willow tit hits the window pane. Each further chapter reveals another observation or adventure - Maija discovers nature in all seasons. Together with her dad, she goes to see how he is counting corncrakes during the night. In the dark she hears a tawny owl, a wild boar, sees a firefly. The seasons change, and in the last chapter Maija is looking forward to the ice in the yard pond to melt. 

Maija knows that every day spent out in nature is an adventure, because nature is ever changing and always is the source of something new. She overcomes fear and confusion, when confronted with the mysterious and unknown. She learns to look at the animals and birds without the prejudice which is so common to humans.

The story is humane and sensitive, but not sentimental, cliché-free and is based on knowledge. The author combines his own childhood memories with the knowledge as a biologist, and manages to create lively and real scenes that can help families to connect with nature.


There is a QR code printed in the book which allows the reader to listen to the most common Latvian bird calls and songs.



Viesturs Ķerus (1984) is an ornithologist, known as one of the heads of Latvian Ornithological Society. He is a persistent bird advocate in the fight against deforestation, and an expressive publicist who continues an important tradition of Latvian children's literature. 



Didzis Upens (1991) just completed his studies at the Graphic Art Department at the Art Academy of Latvia. 'Maija and the Forest' was his diploma work and also his first illustrated book. He used a rapidograph to draw the constant thin lines which create a classical, slightly muted visual feeling in his illustrations. The realistic bird drawings, lined up in comic strips, create an effect of presence.