Willow tries to keep the promise she made to always be kind, especially to her sister, but it is so hard when her mom is gone. Her feelings are little monsters inside her, whispering mean things, wanting her to say them, wanting her to let them out - the more she keeps them in, the meaner they get. The woods make her calmer - drawing plants, finding mushrooms, and an especially smelling magnolias, her moms favorite flower, make things easier. But the monsters are still there. It takes making a new friend to help her face them... a new friend with monsters of her own, who also happens to be a magnolia tree.
Slightly magical and visually stunning, this is a sweet emotional journey that many children need. — Leah Moore
"Pilu of the Woods is a heartwarming tale full of natural wonder, with wise and lovely messages about coping with grief, facing your feelings, and learning to forgive yourself."- KATIE O'NEILL (Eisner Award-winning author of The Tea Dragon Society)
For fans of Hilda and the Trollcomes PILU OF THE WOODS, a heartwarming and bittersweet story of friendship, loss, exploring complex emotions and finding your way home from debut creator Mai K. Nguyen.
Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods. There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home—which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.
But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet—which infuriates Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger… and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all.
BONUS CONTENT: This edition includes blank journal pages in the back to encourage readers to keep their own notes about nature and their feelings.
About the Author
Mai K. Nguyen is a comics maker, illustrator, and ice-cream enthusiast living in Northern California. She has previously self-published two short stories, Coral and the King and Little Ghost. When she's not doodling, she's hustling as a visual designer in San Francisco, watching too many true-crime documentaries, or dreaming about all the other comics she wants to make. Not unlike Willow, she loves feeling small amongst redwood trees and inhaling the salty-grassy smell of coastal bluffs.
"A lovely graphic novel focusing on confronting our inner feelings and how we express them." — Kirkus
In PILU OF THE WOODS, Mai K. Nguyen's stunning visuals bring an emotional narrative to life. Pick it up for the beauty, stay for the feels! — Gloria Chao, author of AMERICAN PANDA
"A heartwarming and beautifully executed parallel between the natural cycles of nature and the emotional journey of navigating friend and family relationships, Pilu of the Woods feels very special." — Natalie Riess, author of SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME
"An incredible and imaginative story of life and loss. Readers will miss Pilu when the story ends, but she will resonate long after." — Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery award-winning author of Hello, Universe
Rendered in evocative lines and expressive lettering, Pilu of the Woods is a delight! Nguyen’s debut is a touching tale of lingering grief and the healing powers of friendship, family, and one enchanting forest. — Melanie Crowder, award-winning author of A Nearer Moon
"In Pilu of the Woods, Nguyen has crafted a sweet, gentle, beautifully-illustrated fable about childhood loss, and the friends who help us find ways to grow, even through the hardest times." — Melanie Gillman (Steven Universe)