Helping Children Find Their Inner Voice: Maia and the Very Tall Wall Children's book review

Kids are very curious by nature. So much so that they tend to ask a lot of questions. Over time, some kids become self conscious about asking questions out loud. Some kids might have heard rebukes about talking too much. Or maybe they were teased about always speaking up. Other kids are naturally more introverted and prefer to do things alone. Sometimes, kids are just more shy. These kids want so desperately to get answers to their questions, but don’t have the courage. Maia is a very curious little girl, but she stopped voicing her questions. One day the wall behind her house grows taller as she grows shyer. But she never stops wondering, “What’s on the other side of that wall?” Will she ever find out what is on the other side?

A new children’s book by author, Brian Wray

Maia and the Very Tall Wall By Brian Wray
Front cover of Maia and the Very Tall Wall

I am so excited about this third book by Brian Wray and illustrator, Shiloh Penfield. Whether you are already fans of their past work, Unraveling Rose and Max’s Box, or just discover them because of this book review, you will love this book! I had the chance to talk with Brian about Maia.

Learn more about Maia with a Question & Answer with the Author

Congratulations on your third children’s book! Can you share what your inspiration was for writing Maia and the Very Tall Wall?

A: “I was inspired to write Maia, because I was a lot like her when I was a child; curious and imaginative, but lacked the confidence to speak up. My grandparents were very encouraging to me. Just as Maia gets some unexpected help, their encouragement gave me the courage to express myself more freely. I couldn’t be more thankful.”

What motivated you to become a children’s book author?

A: ” I’ve always loved storytelling. Some of my earliest memories are of being read to. As soon as I could string words together, I started writing stories of my own. An opportunity to work on a project for Walt Disney inspired me to shift my focus to writing for children. Having children was definitely an inspiration, as well.”

What is the message that you are hoping that parents, educators and children will come away with after reading Maia and the Very Tall Wall?

A: “It is so important to help children use their voices, and important to create an environment where a child feels comfortable speaking up. When children learn how to express themselves and their ideas with confidence their self-esteem grows, they perform better in school, and create positive relationships with other children. It’s also vital in helping manage emotions.”

How can families get a copy of Maia or any of your other children’s books?

A: “Families can order the books through Amazon, directly from Schiffer Publishing, or through their local bookstore.”

RELATED: How to Understand your Child’s Temperament (

As a behavioral pediatrician and a book lover, I love finding books that help spark open dialogue between children and parents or children and educators. This third book by Brian Wray is so sweet, imaginative and gentle. The whimsical illustrations captivate young readers and will help to draw them into this story.

The story shows how Maia can overcome her shyness with the help of friends and loved ones.

She doesn’t have to go it alone!

Helping young children learn how to become resilient no matter what adversities they face–whether it be perceived, real, external or internal to their experience, this story shows the importance of perseverance and help from others is key.

But please, don’t just take my word for it, please do check this book out. It will quickly become a family favorite.

Remember, if you are ever worried about your child’s development or behavior, you don’t have to go it alone either! Reach out and talk to your child’s pediatrician or health care provider.

RELATED: How to Support Your Shy Kid (NY Times, published April 15, 2020)

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Written by

Nerissa Bauer

I am a behavioral pediatrician, consultant, child advocate and blogger. I am a wife, mommy to 2 amazing children and 2 golden retrievers. Love cooking, travel, reading, tap and creating.