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Children's Fiction Self-esteem & Self-reliance


The Bashful Cloud

by (author) Kyo Maclear

illustrated by Nathalie Dion

Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Diversity & Multicultural, Weather
Recommended Age
4 to 8
Recommended Grade
p to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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The uplifting journey of a bashful cloud ("kumo" in Japanese) who discovers the rewards of feeling seen.

Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties — drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter — meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her.

Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.

About the authors

KYO MACLEAR was born in London and grew up in Toronto as the only child of a foreign correspondent. Her father reported on some significant world events, including recording the first interviews with American POWs in North Vietnam. While Stray Love is entirely a work of fiction, it is informed by her experiences living with her father. Her first novel, The Letter Opener (2007), was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artists Award and shortlisted for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Maclear is also an award-winning visual arts writer and the author of two children’s books: Spork (2010) and Virginia Wolf (2012). Visit her online at

Kyo Maclear's profile page

NATHALIE DION is an illustrator living in Montreal who studied Design Arts at Concordia University. Her other children's books include I Found Hope in a Cherry Tree by Jean E. Pendziwol, The Biggest Puddle in the World by Mark Lee and What's in Your Purse? by Abigail Samoun. Nathalie has received a number of awards for her illustration and has exhibited her work in Montreal galleries.


Nathalie Dion's profile page


  • Winner, Golden Kite Award for Picture-Illustration

Editorial Reviews

"Dion’s vivid illustrations, inspired by Impressionist paintings, reflect the sky’s expressiveness. . . . Kumo will impart a new appreciation for clouds and show readers how it can sometimes be frightening to step into the world, then [reassure] them that others are willing to help when we overcome our bashfulness." —STARRED REVIEW, Quill & Quire

"Nathalie Dion masterfully renders the journey of Kumo through the use of a rich palette of colours. . . . The reader revels at the richness of representation of the sky and clouds — sometimes reminiscent of Turner's or Monet's artwork — along with the exquisite depiction of landscapes and cityscapes." —Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Jury/IBBY Canada
"[F]or young readers who may themselves feel anxious about finding their place and making friends . . . [a] quiet, satisfying tale about being brave enough to take that first step." —Kirkus Reviews

"An excellent . . . read-aloud to help children understand their own reticence about being seen, this story also shows the many ways they can be present, as individuals or part of a group." —School Library Journal
"Maclear writes a tale as light and lilting as its cloud hero. . . . Quiet, sweeping panoramas, often in sunrise colors, nurture the sense of calm that comes with broad perspectives and new connections. . . . [a] memorable story about coming into one's own." —Publishers Weekly
"After reading this book, young and old readers alike are sure to gain an even greater appreciation for clouds. Every time we look up at the sky, we’ll likely think of Kumo." —Montreal Review of Books
"Kyo Maclear’s touching story about shyness shows how little Kumo changes her anxious feelings to confidence by being active and enjoying the beauty and friendships of the world around her. Maclear’s style of prose is almost poetic and adds a gentleness to the subject of bashfulness, which can be so difficult for young children." —CM Reviews
"Learning a few Japanese words is a fun bonus in this beautifully illustrated book." —Midwest Book Review
"Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations bring the story of Kumo to life, fitting perfectly with Kyo Maclear’s lyrical parable about a shy little cloud exploring the world and making new friends along the way." —Quebec Library Association

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