School visits/events

For over ten years I've been invited to speak at literary festivals, bookshops, libraries, and many schools in the UK and internationally about my work as an author/illustrator of children's books. My books are also used as creative teaching resources in schools worldwide - you can read some of the sweet things teachers and children have said about my books over the years below. If you'd like to organise a school visit or event with me please get in touch, I look forward to hearing from you!

A few words about wordless books

Much of my work in schools has often centred around my series of Silent Books - illustrated stories without words. Silent Books hold a special place in my heart as I feel that without words they have the capacity to reach deeper within us. They bypass the mind and speak directly to something more fundamental. When I first started creating these wordless tales it was for that reason, and also for the fun of experimenting - seeing what could be communicated without the use of words. I also wonder if my multilingual background and being a third culture kid had me instinctively drawn to tell stories that broke down barriers of language - another thing I love about wordless books.

However, it wasn't until I started receiving emails from teachers telling me how much they enjoyed using my books as creative teaching resources that I understood the other kind of power and potential wordless books hold. As I started visiting schools I saw first-hand the creativity these books inspired, and the perceptiveness, critical thinking and imagination that was unlocked as children developed their visual literacy skills.

These wordless tales inspire children to come up with their own interpretations of the narratives. With no wrong interpretation, the children themselves are empowered to become the storytellers, to trust their own voice, imagination and creativity.

  • I have worked with my class on The Black Hat. Ofsted should watch out, awe and wonder has been seen in every lesson!

    - Rose Cope, head teacher, UK

  • I have been teaching nearly 10 years and your stuff is pretty much the best I have ever seen! 

    - Rob Smith, UK

  • I use the books as part of my visual literacy resources and as literacy starters where children write what they think is happening. I also intend to use it for Big Writing once I start this. Children describe the pictures as amazing, attractive, colourful, beautiful, interesting, unusual and fun. The illustrations are very original, eye catching and engaging. Would highly recommend it to others in my profession
    and would love to see more of your work in schools. They are such an amazing resource.

    - Jamie Stevenson, Year 3 teacher, Lambeth

  • We currently have a 'network' focus on oral language and writing - the brilliant illustrations and thought provoking storylines mean your picture books appeal to a wide audience and are an ideal resource for developing speaking, listening and writing with students. I am very excited about discovering your books and look forward to using them with students (and teachers).

    - Anne Rochford, Victoria, Australia

  • My children love them! The drawings are so colorful and beautiful!!! And since they are silent, it gives my children the option to create their own stories! They are just PERFECT for speech therapy!!! Thank you thank you thank you!

    - Ana M Santos, New York

  • Dear Maia - what a treat. I've just got home from work to find the 3 Silent books patiently waiting on my doormat. They are so beautiful. Already I'm thinking of ways to use them in the classroom. They will be so inspiring for all children, but particularly, I think, for those who struggle to write their thoughts down. Thank you again. I look forward to reading your books for many years to come.

    At the moment I am teaching Y2 but next year I will be teaching Y1. All our classes have 30 children with a wide range of abilities. We are a multi cultural inner London school.

    Your illustrations are so rich in colour and detail and I love the quirkiness of the characters. The fact that there are no words in the Silent Books makes them a perfect resource to encourage children to tell their own stories. This year I have taught a couple of boys who were struggling with reading and writing and in danger of becoming disaffected, but they are quite talented artists. They have really been able to express themselves through pictures and I am sure that seeing stories told purely through pictures would really inspire them. I would definitely like to see your work in school and will whole heartedly recommend it to other teachers.

    - Dorothy Hallam, UK

  • I have just received Maia's set of 3 Silent Books which I cannot wait to begin using within my classroom. I am a year 6 teacher with children aged between 10 and 11 years old. I teach in a very deprived area, many of my pupils lack imagination and the ability to create ideas in their mind due to a lack of stimulation and experience. This is one of the main reasons I was drawn to the books; because there is no story as such, the children have the freedom to create their own ideas and narrative without the fear of it being 'wrong'.

    Within class, I would use the books predominantly within creative writing sessions, I don't like to give children the whole book to read, I like to select a few images and get the children to use these images and create a timeline in which they fill in their story. The pictures and images within the books are so unique and intriguing and I know they will grab my children's attention immediately. I am also planning on using the book for children to create their own animations using apple mac software and apps.

    I would most definitely recommend Maia's books to colleagues and friends (I have already shared her animations in the staff room!).

    Thank you very much for providing such beautiful works of art! I look forward to many more.

    - Lyndsey King, Merseyside, UK

  • My year 3s watched The Black Hat today and absolutely loved it. It created a wealth of discussion and the children wanted to watch it again before home time. Will be using it next year with my new class...can't wait.

    It was fantastic. I was going to wait until next year to share with my new class however, following a change of timetable I found an hour spare. The year 3s sat so quietly and took in every second of the clip. Quiet whispers about the illustrations were heard and ideas began to roll immediately. We then discussed the story in small groups and  had some lovely suggestions for why the birds escaped...

    "The beautiful birds didn't want to spend their life in a cage. They want to explore the world and bring happiness to people."

    "The hat is magical and it comes alive when children need some 'colour' in their life." referring to sadness, loneliness etc.

    The children then began to imagine what would come out of the hat next time and the adventures which could be had. Wish I had discovered your work sooner as I believe I could have spent weeks on this!

    - Rachael Clarke, UK

  • I'm a primary school teacher in Leicestershire and I came across your picture books when I was searching for ways to inspire my class to write. They're amazing!

    - Jill Marvell-Stewart, UK

  • The kids loved your books... I showed them all 3 but am using the Blue book to teach them how to write words to a wordless book.

    I also had adults comment on where we could buy the books :)

    - Lori, Utah, US

  • I would like to say how much I am looking forward to using your books with my class of 25 Year 5/6 children. I love the way your "Silent" books contain vivid illustrations which provide enough detail to compel the reader to find out more, yet their lack of vocabulary frees children to use their own imagination and creativity to explore a variety of uncharted story lines. I am eager to examine the extraordinary opportunities for children to apply the features of different text types through their interpretation of such extraordinary and beautiful stimuli.

    I intend to use the Silent Red Book to look at empathy and how child and animal can relate to each other and respond with friendship to overcome loneliness and neglect.

    Your Silent Blue book offers an ideal opportunity to examine why the girl is playing alone with a bat and ball. From this starting point I believe children can be encouraged to produce their own class book compiled of their favourite games that can be played with others to foster an inclusive environment in the playground. This is an ideal way to ensure a class of new children bond well with each other and gain a common identity. It also creates a class resource that everyone can add to whenever they learn a new game or invent one together.

    I am certain that my enthusiasm for your work will carry the children along with me. I would love to involve you in the whole process because as the original author/illustrator, you offer the unrivalled chance for the children to write for an audience with the clear and exciting purpose of delving into the mind of such an inspirational writer. Through email and letters the children could provide you with important feedback on how your books have been used and also ask the burning questions I am sure they will all need to ask you.

    You have made my job such a pleasure to do next term and work like yours makes kids enjoy what they learn in a meaningful way so thank you thank you thank you!

    - Karen Bailey, Cumbria, UK

  • I really like them! I think you could improve on nothing. I love it. I really love how you thought of a book without words. I love the pictures, they're peaceful. Thank you for showing us. Thank you! Xx

    - Ella, 8 years old

  • I personally think that it is the best story ever. I like the fact that there are no words. Good luck on your next story.

    - Joseph, 10 years old

  • I like the Silent Red Book because it makes me feel calm and I had tears in my eyes. It has a hidden meaning. I like the Silent Blue Book because it makes you think about what happens everyday that you don’t notice.

    - Leila, 10 years old

  • I thought that the books were fandabbydosy, especially the illustrations, they were awesome. I think they are some of the best picture books ever!

    - Sona, 8 years old

  • I loved the stories, I think they are awesome!!!

    - Prabhnir, 8 years old

  • I think that people care about themselves and don’t care about wild animals. The music is sad and heartbreaking and peaceful. It makes me feel like they were abandoned and then so happy to find each other.

    - Ryan, 9 years old

  • Thank you. I am going to make a book and it will also have no words, just like your ones!

    - Alex, 7 years old

  • I really liked it because I couldn’t draw like that in 1000000 million years.

    - Zack, 8 years old

  • I think her books are interesting because everyone could understand them.

    - Max, 7 years old

  • No reading, that rocks!! Well done!! :)
    - Sienna, 10 years old 

  • Absolutely thrilling to watch. A lovely story which explains how life can be so magical and extraordinary. I liked it how you made a different adventure from a simple colour! It was beautiful and I think from this story you'll go a long way!

    - Saumiya, 10 years old

  • I loved the pictures. I liked the way that the fox ran. I liked the fox a lot.

    - Ido, 6 years old

  • Well guess what, I really enjoyed your book. I was literally stuck to it. You're GREAT.

    - Maheeka, 9 years old

  • I really enjoyed the books and I would recommend them to other children! Why don't you make some other colour books too, like the boy with the green badge or something like that. I think it's a great idea because then other children in different countries can read it too! 5 stars!!! :)

    - Kishen, 9 years old

  • I like all of your books, they are fab and I enjoy them so much! Thanks for showing them to Brunswick Park School.

    - Sabergula, 9 years old

  • I really enjoyed it, it could never be better. I hope the books come out real in the library.

    - Luke, 8 years old

  • I thought that it was brilliant and that it must have taken you such a long time to make it so wonderful. It was shocking!

    - Steven, 9 years old

  • I loved your books, I think they were fantastic. I hope you show us more of them. Thank you for showing us! Bye! :)

    - Megan, 9 years old

  • I liked this book a lot because it is kind and caring.

    - Abdallah, 9 years old

  • I felt so sorry for the fox. The girl was kind and helpful, she looked after the fox. It is a brilliant story.

    - Ishwaq, 9 years old

  • I think that the girl is a friendly and loving person. She is thoughtful. I know that because she helps the precious little
    fox. I think that the fox isn’t sneaky because he didn’t go for stuff in alleys. I like it because there is great friendship.

    - George, 9 years old

  • I like this story because it is like a mix of a little bit of sadness with happiness.

    - Mustafa, 9 years old

  • The fox was treated very badly and was very hungry but he befriended the girl and became happier. I loved it when the girl befriended the fox because it made me happy that the fox
    has a friend.

    - Ellie, 9 years old

  • I absolutely loved it! Picture books without words has never occurred to me, but now they do! It was really well illustrated. I can’t wait to tell my parents about this! The music really does suit the pictures and great detail. My cousin who’s only 3 will probably love it as much as I do.

    - Meghana, 10 years old

  • Wow! I really loved your book and I am going to show everyone in my family. Your book was amazing, I love all the books you made. I have your poster and I am going to put it up on my wall. Amazing books!

    - Sara, 9 years old

  • I thought the books were REALLY good! The books will be a big hit and they are so imaginative and creative. The books are so good and I will buy them.

    - Leah, 10 years old

  • Thank you so much for letting us see your wonderful drawings, well actually your awesome books! It was so imaginative and creative! It’s the first book I’ve ever seen without words so thanks so much! :)

    - Zara, 10 years old

  • I like the concept and I think it could be a hit Youtube/TV series.

    - Aden, 10 years old

  • I liked the books because it meant I could make up my own versions of the stories, which was very fun and stretched my imagination.

    - Cara, 10 years old

  • I think the non-word stories were brilliant because they tell imagination in different languages.

    - Max, 10 years old

  • I loved the books so much, I want to read them again! Thank you!!

    - Migle, 10 years old

  • I think it was amazing, awesome, incredible. That was really cool. I’ve never seen a silent book before. You’re really good at drawing and you have a good imagination (by thinking how to create a story). I really have enjoyed reading it!

    - Tara, 10 years old

  • Your silent books are awesome, especially for kids who can’t read. I loved it!!!!

    - Chantelle, 10 years old

  • I think picture books are a great way of telling stories. These picture books can be read all over the world by anyone. These books can also be talked about and people can share their views and comments. I think your picture books are amazing, I love them.

    - Niralee, 10 years old

  • I really liked the story and I think Maia is a really good illustrator and the pictures, every single one of them, were brilliant.

    - Ranja, 10 years old

  • It is good for people who can’t read and from different countries.

    - Alfie, 10 years old

  • I think it’s very clever doing this because someone from a different country can think in their head and imagine it and it looks very nice.

    - Sirusshan, 10 years old

  • It is really good for kids and people who can’t read and people that speak different languages.

    - T.J, 10 years old

  • I thank you for showing us all your lovely books with the lovely drawings. It was brilliant and I loved them.

    - Elia, 11 years old

  • To Maia, I really like the Silent Red Book because the storyline was really nice. I liked the picture of the fox and the girl looking at the moon together. I think it was a story about a girl finding a homeless fox and she shows him the moon and gives him some love. I think I will show my little sister this, I think she’ll like it.

    - Anjali, 10 years

  • Very creative. Cool characters. I like how they make friends, the fox is like a dog and I like that. I like the Silent Blue Book a lot, I like the movement. The waves were cool, the music was relaxing, and it’s very different from the first one.

    - Jack, 11 years old

  • I thought it was really good the way you don’t have to read it because the pictures tell the story for you. The music also helped understand the moods and feelings of the characters. As well as that the colours used were great because in some places it didn’t have everything coloured, sometimes just the main things.

    - Martha, 10 years old

  • Well, I think it is really good and I love the fox and the girl. My favourite book of yours is definitely the girl with the yellow bag, WOW I like that the pictures tell the story and it shows that you actually don’t need words to make it a good story! I’m going to watch them again when I get home.

    - Charlotte, 10 years old

  • I really like the books because I thought that a story had to have words and when there’s only pictures you can use your imagination!

    - Kajal, 10 years old

  • I loved all the books you showed. I think that you are really talented and you are very good at art!!

    - Aliysha, 9 years old

  • I think that your books are really fantastic, I especially liked the yellow bag book the most.

    - Anika, 8 years old

  • A fantastic picture book!

    - Morgan, 7 years old

  • I like Maia's silent books so much because you can make your own story.

    - Lara, 8 years old

  • I thought that the books with no words were very interesting, you can completely imagine what’s happening in your mind.

    - Jasmine, 8 years old

  • I thought it was very peaceful and calm and also very emotional :)

    - Vy, 8 years old

  • Very nice music, sweet stories, happy times, I really like them, lovely stories.

    - Rafi, 8 years old

  • The dog is cute. There are magical things that I like in these stories.

    - James, 8 years old

  • Really amazing pictures, the dog is so cute. I really like the stories. I really like the two flowers.

    - Isabella, 8 years old

  • The dog is cute. Your picture books are great!

    - Samba, 8 years old

  • I really like everything about your books!

    - Bahaand, 8 years old

  • Your picture books are great!

    - Inna, 8 years old

  • I loved the Silent books. I loved the little fox and I felt calm.

    - Riya, 8 years old

  • I liked it because the pictures were really good and I loved all of them!

    - Zainab, 8 years old

  • I like it because I love the pictures a lot and I want to be like you.

    - Sarina, 8 years old

  • To be honest it made me emotional. I like how you made it a bit realistic. I liked the girl who found the flower! Thank you!

    - Olivia, 8 years old

  • I really like the way you have made the silent books so anybody can read the books.

    - Lily, 8 years old

  • I liked these books because they have interesting characters.

    - Harleen, 7 years old

  • I liked the silent books because I liked making up the stories in my head when I was looking at them.

    - Anna, 7 years old

  • You have such a good skill for drawing! Well done!

    - Christopher, 7 years old

  • I like it because it’s all about friendship and making a good friend.

    - Clarice, 7 years old

  • I like the Silent Blue Book because the girl comes back for the fox because that’s what friends are for. P.s. I love reading and writing and drawing.

    - Elsie, 7 years old

  • I think that these books are going to be very successful!

    - Anja, 8 years old

  • Your books are brilliant and
    - Agie, 8 years old

  • I really liked the books and the idea of one colour and no words so other people can read it. I was even making it up as it was on the screen. Hope you write more soon.

    - Emily, 8 years old

  • I like the book because it shows that true friendship means no matter where you are you’re still friends.

    - Ola, 9 years old

  • The story is about friendship and homelessness. I like it because it explains loneliness.

    - Kimia, 9 years old

  • The girl and the fox were lonely, and when they got together they made me feel emotional. The pictures are drawn so nicely.

    - Jackie, 9 years old

  • I liked it because it shows that if you want to like a fox look in their inner self. It shows how enemies can become friends.

    - Naeem, 9 years old

  • The fox was lonely and the girl was there for him. They were happy together. It’s about friendship. I think it’s about friendship, loneliness and hope. At the end the girl and the fox looked at the moon to remember each other.

    - Darrell, 9 years old

  • At first a fox was on its own and then came a little girl and the girl picked up the fox and went to a hill and they look at the moon and stars and then they went to sleep. The girl did not want to go away from the fox. It was really nice of the girl to look after the fox, it makes me so happy.

    - Niamh, 9 years old

  • There was a girl who loved looking at the moon. There was a fox who was sad and starving. I really liked it when they were both looking at the moon together and they were both having really good times!

    - Mustafa, 9 years old

  • I like the story because it has no words and it makes us think how good everything is.

    - Aminullah, 9 years old

  • I liked the story a lot because it shows that when you make a friend, even if you go reeeeally far away, you will always remember them. I loved the book, it's really beautiful.

    - Arlet, 9 years old

  • The part that I liked the most in The Girl with The Yellow Bag was when the girl took out the huge flowers from her bag... it  was beautiful because she wanted to make the world better.

    What The Silent Red Book teaches us is that you don't have to be the same as each other to be friends.

    And The Silent Blue Book teaches us how important friendship is and how you can grow.

    - Katherine, 10 years old

  • Maia's books have shown me that we should have hopes and we’ll be able to achieve whatever we want. And also that animals have feelings too.

    - María, 10 years old

  • I really like this book because it’s magic.

    - Sylwia, 6 years old