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Children. War. Books.


5 min

29 April 2022

Reading during the war has been now louder articulated in Ukraine. That is why we could assume the inner depth and the sense of cultural needs of Ukrainians. In addition, as noted by Tatiana Stus, a children's writer and psychologist, reading can bring back good emotions and a sense of home to young readers: 

“Torn out of their regular lives, children and adolescents have to live through an extremely stressful experience. The primary goal, shortly after neutralizing physical threats, is to give them back a sense of security and connection to the home. The most appropriate way to create a sense of security in an unfamiliar foreign-language environment is to have a book, both as a physical object common for peaceful life, and as a meaning it implies. Tactile contact with a thing that is associated with a peaceful life has a soothing effect. More importantly, artistic and informative stories help you immerse in the native language environment, and the stories often have enormous therapeutic capacity.” ‍

“About 1.5 million children were forced to flee Ukraine because of the war that Russia unleashed. Parents brought along the most basic only, such as clothes, food, and medicines. As to favorite books, they stayed at home,” the Ukrainian Institute of Books highlighted. They shared ways to make books available to forcibly displaced Ukrainian children abroad:‍

1. Make a donation (available for European countries)

The UBI, together with the Federation of European Publishers, launched a crowdfunding campaign where you can donate for printing on the GoGetFunding platform.‍

It is important to note that many Ukrainian publishing houses have also joined this call - you can donate/hang the book directly on the websites of your favorite publishing houses.‍

2. Print independently for your local community, library, or school

Ukrainian publishers have provided free layouts of their books that are ready for printing. Original post, with more details, can be  found  here.

A number of Ukrainian publishers have also made the e-books available in free access, or for a minimum fee.

Ukrainian-Language Books in the Copenhagen Library

In Lviv, access to books for displaced children is moderated by the Central Library System for Children of the City of Lviv, among other actors. ‍

"Many children stay outside of Ukraine, so a lot of requests for Ukrainian-language literature have come to Lviv during the last month. We have already transferred books to Wroclaw, Kraków, Warsaw, Lublin, etc., because we understand the importance of reading in the native language, which creates links with the native culture," says the coordinator of city libraries (Lviv City Council), Anastasiia Nechypurenko.‍

The Foundation for Strategic Change ZMIN joined the initiative of purchasing books from Ukrainian publishing houses, while supporting this sector of the Ukrainian economy.

 Illustration - "The War That Changed Rondo", Art Studio Agrafka, The Old Lion Publishing House.

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