You Don’t Know What War Is: the diary of a young girl from Ukraine

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Yeva lives in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. For her twelfth birthday she has a bowling party with her friends. But ten days later, the Russian army invades Ukraine and Yeva and everyone in her city find themselves at war.

This is Yeva’s diary during the first few months of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, beginning in February 2022. She describes listening to shells explode, and the fear of hearing planes fly overhead. She and her granny flee to the basement of their building, along with their neighbours, and try to survive down there for hours on end. They are cold, hungry and terrified, never knowing if it’s safe to leave to search for food.

Yeva and her granny eventually move out of Kharviv, out of Ukraine, and finally to Dublin, Ireland. Her diary tracks their journey as they leave everything they’ve ever known.

Moving and at times heart-breaking, this diary tells an important story – of what war does to ordinary people. The excerpts of messages between Yeva and her friends are particularly moving, as are the photographs of their bombed-out flat. Also included are three hand-drawn maps by a Ukrainian illustrator, Olga Shtonda, daily headlines from around the world, and a foreword by Michael Morpurgo.  

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