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Maya Loop by Lis Anna-Langston is a Fall Into These Great Reads pick #middlegrade #mglit #giveaway

Title: Maya Loop

Author: Lis Anna-Langston

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Book Blurb:

Get ready to meet the blue haired girl from Baltimore who saves the world.

Following maps her grandmother drew before she disappeared, Maya Loop, the brave, blue-haired girl from Baltimore, has to depend on her wits and bravery to face the alien race of Landions who have taken her grandmother and best friends to an underground world of creatures living beyond the limits of time. The Landions are not only trying to end the human race but erase them completely. A delightfully fast-paced story crackling with energy, Maya Loop meets young readers in the wideopen world of being a kid where everything feels like magic.


“Oh, yes,” she said. “That one.”

“I thought you were going to stay at a hotel.”

“No, we stayed at her apartment. It was nice. She was there. She didn’t mind.”

That was an odd statement to make even for a four-year-old “You mean your grandmother?”

The great and grand was obviously confusing.

“No, the great one,” she said.

“Ummm— the great one died,” I said, cautiously.

“No. No, not until later. She was there when we got there. She left on the last night.” “But you went up there for the funeral so she had already died.” Because that’s how that works. Dead first, then funeral.

She shrugged. “I don’t know about that. She left on the last night. I saw her walk out.”

“Walk out of where?”

“The bedroom.”

“You slept in her bedroom?” That gave me the creeps. “All alone?”

She rolled her eyes like I was silly. “The great slept with me. We shared the bed. She’s nice.”

“So for three days you shared a bedroom with your great grandmother?” The dead one?

“Uh-huh,” she said.

“Did she go to the funeral?” I couldn’t resist. I am, after all, a writer.

Shaking her head, she said, “She couldn’t leave the apartment. She waited for me to come back. I told her that everyone was sad but loved her.”

“Why did she leave then?”

“The Landions came to get her in the middle of the night. She woke me up and said goodbye.”

“What is a Landion?”

“The people who come to get you when you die,” she said with a duh tone that suggested I should know these big life mysteries.

“What do they look like?” I asked, genuinely curious.

“Oh,” she struck a posture that suggested she was an old world pro on the subject of Landions. “They are really big, like so big they had to duck so they didn’t hit their heads on the door thing and they had spears and shields and they are kinda tan, like dust and they look like giant bugs.”

“Giant bugs?”

“Yeah. You know how them cicada bugs have those bodies that look like armor?” The cicadas had hatched in the valley years before and she collected the dead ones and stored them in jars. It was a seventeen-year cycle and they were so loud we could hear them inside during the day.

“It’s called an exo-skeleton.”

“Yeah, that,” she said. “The outside skeleton thing. Well, they are huge and they have that bug exo thing.”

“Where did they come from?”

“The living room,” she said matter of fact.

“So they just walked into your great grandmother’s apartment?”

She nodded, accompanied by the duh look again.

“And then what happened?” Because you cannot make this stuff up.

She shrugged. “They stood at the end of the bed and my great woke up and when she saw them they told her she had to come with them. I think she knew because she didn’t argue and everyone said she argued all the time.”

“What did the Landions say?”

“It’s time to go.”

“Did your great grandmother say anything?”

“She stopped at the bedroom door and looked back at me and told me goodbye. She waved and told me she liked me a lot. Then the Landions ducked and led her out.”

“Were you scared?”

“No. Why?”

“Weren’t the giant bugs scary?” Because here was my thinking. You’re four years old and you wake up in the middle of the night because giant bipedal bugs with spears have entered your great grandmother’s apartment and are taking her away. I’m thinking that would freak me out. A lot. Just saying.

She shook her head. “They like us. They weren’t scary at all. Just big and kinda funny looking. They took up the whole room. They are so big.”

“Oh,” I said.

“We should go get vegan ice dream,” she said.

“Did it bother you that your great grandmother died?” Because I didn’t want to traumatize her with reality.

Cocking her head to the side, she said, “She’s not dead. She went with the Landions.”

I wrote down the entire conversation because it was so strange and because I’m a writer and write everything down. I started to form this idea in my head of an entire race of beings that looked like giant bugs. It was such an odd story. Most people have stories of angels coming to get the recently dead. In this story their were giant bugs. I knew they had something to do with the girl standing at the edge of the field.

The story of these great warrior bugs with spears that came to get her great grandmother and take her to a new world intrigued me. Giant, spear carrying bugs that ushered souls of the dead.

Later I asked her again about the Landions. “Are you sure that wasn’t a dream?”

In her purple tutu and rainboots she put her hands on her hips and leaned forward, all saucy and said, “I saw them.”

“For real?”

She rolled her eyes. “They were everywhere. They took up the entire joint.”

I laughed. But a good villain is no laughing matter.

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What’s your favorite thing about autumn:

Everything. The weather, the way the nights slip into a cool chill. The steaming mugs of coffee at dawn on the deck. The hint of holidays in the air.

Maya Loop originally came to me as a little girl standing at the edge of a field, afraid of the dark. Something deep in her core wanted to turn away but something equally as strong pulled her into the rows. Thus, the journey began. I did not know then that it was a story of a little girl who overcomes not just her fear of the dark, but of dark things. A girl forced to meet her monsters.

Around that same time my daughter’s great grandmother died. She hadn’t spent a lot of time with her because she lived in a retirement community that was not close. Feeling like she needed to at least have some sense of her great grandmother my daughter travelled with her grandmother to the funeral. One night I had a very distinct scene pop into my head. The image of a girl standing at the edge of a field afraid to go in because it was so dark. I could tell immediately that she was a city girl with her glitter green combat boots and her stylish messenger bag. She was a tough girl with a big brave heart but all that dark frightened her to the core. When my daughter returned home I asked her how the funeral was. She said she stayed at her grandmother’s place. I knew she had to be talking about her great grandmother. “You mean your great grandmother?”

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

Open internationally.

Runs September 1 – 30

Drawing will be held on October 2.

Author Biography:

Descended from the Eastern band of Cherokee, Lis Anna-Langston was raised along the winding current of the Mississippi River on a steady diet of dog-eared books. She attended a Creative and Performing Arts School from middle school until graduation and went on to study Literature at Webster University. Her novels have won the Parents’ Choice Gold, Moonbeam Book Award, Independent Press Award, Benjamin Franklin Book Award and NYC Big Book Awards. A three-time Pushcart award nominee and Finalist in the Brighthorse Book Prize, William Faulkner Fiction Contest, George Garrett Fiction Prize and Thomas Wolfe Fiction Award, her work has been published in The Literary Review, Emerson Review, The Merrimack Review, Emrys Journal, The MacGuffin, Sand Hill Review and dozens of other literary journals.

Hailed as “an author with a genuine flair for originality” by Midwest Book Review and “a loveable, engaging, original voice…” by Publishers Weekly, you can find her in the wilds of South Carolina plucking stories out of thin air.

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Sep 26, 2023

Thank you, Lis, for sharing your book in our Fall Into These Great Reads Bookathon!

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