Friday, 25 November 2022

You Don't Know What War Is by Yeva Skalietsksa BLOG TOUR #YouDontKnowWhatWarIs @BloomsburyBooks @ChristianLLewis @RandomTTours #BookReview


Everyone knows the word 'war'. But very few understand what it truly means. When you find you have to face it, you feel totally lost, walled in by fright and despair. Until you've been there, you don't know what war is.

This is the gripping and moving diary of young Ukrainian refugee Yeva Skalietska. It follows twelve days in Ukraine that changed 12-year-old Yeva's life forever. She was woken in the early hours to the terrifying sounds of shelling. Russia had invaded Ukraine, and her beloved Kharkiv home was no longer the safe haven it should have been. It was while she was forced to seek shelter in a damp, cramped basement that Yeva decided to write down her story. And it is a story the world needs to hear.

Yeva captured the nation's heart when she was featured on Channel 4 News with her granny as they fled Ukraine for Dublin. In You Don't Know What War Is, Yeva records what is happening hour-by-hour as she seeks safety and travels from Kharkiv to Dublin. Each eye-opening diary entry is supplemented by personal photographs, excerpts of messages between Yeva and her friends and daily headlines from around the world, while three beautifully detailed maps (by Kharkiv-native Olga Shtonda) help the reader track Yeva and her granny's journey. You Don't Know What War Is is a powerful insight into what conflict is like through the eyes of a child and an essential read for adults and older children alike.

Published in association with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with a foreword by Michael Morpurgo.

You Don't Know What War Is by Yeva Skalietska was published in paperback on 25 October 2022 by Bloomsbury Children's Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour. 

This is probably one of the most important and moving books that I've read in years. With a wonderful forward written by Michael Morpurgo, it's often bleak, it's unrelenting, but it ever hopeful. I think this book could become as important as Anne Frank's Diary and that Yeva Skalietska is not only a brave young girl, but she's also an incredibly talented writer. 

Yeva was an ordinary young girl, living an ordinary life. She lived with her Grandmother in a vibrant, bustling city. She loved to paint and to play the piano, she enjoyed school and had many friends. She had just had a birthday party at a bowling alley, with flowers and cake and was happy. 

And then, the explosions began and Yeva's life altered beyond recognition. She and her Grandmother joined neighbours to shelter from the explosions in a nearby basement. Day in and day out, the bombs and mines rained down on their beloved city. Their own home was bombed, they heard about local schools and shopping malls, historical monuments and residential buildings, all destroyed. 

Yeva kept a diary throughout, and this book is the result. It's not only her own feelings, but transcripts from text messages sent to and from her school friends.

Whilst this is a relatively short book, and is aimed at children, it's a book that I would highly recommend. We have all seen the TV footage of Ukraine, we all know what is happening, but the words of this young girl, who lived it will affect you far more than any news report. 

We really don't know what war is. Yeva does and lived it. Her journey across Europe to safety is wonderfully documented, but she will always miss her home. 

Highly recommended.

Yeva Skalietska is a 12-year-old Ukrainian girl who grew up living with her granny in Kharkiv, near the Russian border. 

She loves learning languages, bowling, playing the piano and painting. 

Yeva wrote a diary of her experiences of fleeing war in Ukraine. 

She now lives in Dublin, Ireland where she has made new friends and had a go at Irish dancing, but is always missing home.

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