Zaida and the Summer Lightning

Saku Heinänen

Original title: Zaida ja elovalkeat

Author: Saku Heinänen

Published: 2015

Publisher: Tammi

Genre: Middle Grade (8-12 Years)

Pages: 232

The second story is about the short but intense northern summer. Zaida spends it for the first time in countryside: her uncle, who tragically passed away in the first novel, has left Zaida’s father his home in a village by the sea. The small community is sustained by a steel factory, which looms over it like a benevolent giant. The family tries to clean and fix the old house as well as adapt to the circumstances very different from their city life. Sofia, a retired neighbour, has lost her sight but has a strange ability to see into people’s minds. Zaida becomes close with Sofia and her granddaughter Tuija, already in the tumult of puberty. Their summer becomes filled with moments of joy as well as tricky conflicts. When the village is hit by the abrupt closing of the steel factory, the ghosts from the past seem to return. Zaida is drawn into time-warping episode, and joins forces with Sofia to fight for the existence of the factory – and of the whole village.

About the series

The three novels combine psychological and magical realism with ghost stories to tell the story of Zaida, a girl adopted from a faraway country. She worries about her different looks and elderly parents, and as the only child feels lonely and disconnected. But allies and enemies in school are not all: in each of the books, Zaida gets swept into an adventure that blurs the boundaries of reality and fantasy. Balancing on the precarious threshold between childhood and adolescence, Zaida thus hovers between the worlds of everyday and imagination.

The stories follow each other in chronological order, but each book can be read independently, too.

The trilogy is richly illustrated by the author with atmospheric black-and-white drawings.

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Rights sold:
FINLAND: Tammi (orig.)

About author

Saku Heinänen

Saku Heinänen is an illustrator, type designer, and former professor of graphic design at Aalto University. He creates light and shadow in his illustrations with skillful use of black ink. He has written and illustrated two praised children’s novels, Zaida and the Snow Angel (Finlandia Junior nominee 2014) and Zaida and the Thunderbolts (Arvid Lydecken nominee 2015).


2017, Middle Grade (8-12 Years)

Saku Heinänen

Zaida and the Fellow Combatant

2015, Middle Grade (8-12 Years)

Saku Heinänen

Zaida and the Summer Lightning

2014, Middle Grade (8-12 Years)

Saku Heinänen

Zaida and the Snow Angel

Illustrated books

Saku Heinänen


2016, Middle Grade (8-12 Years)