Pilu of the Woods

Illustrated by Mai K. Nguyen
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About The Book

"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 Troll comes 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.

About The Illustrator

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.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Oni Press (April 2019)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781620105511
  • Grades: 4 - 6
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

"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, As the Crow Flies)

"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. Nguyen really captures the feeling of being a kid in the woods with a lot of emotions. Beautiful lettering, beautiful linework, beautiful relationships—just an all-around beautiful book! I feel stronger for having read this."

– Natalie Riess (Space Battle Lunchtime, Dungeon Critters)

"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

"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

"A lovely graphic novel focusing on confronting our inner feelings and how we express them." 

– Kirkus

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