Sometimes books come out so fresh and urgent that they demand your immediate attention. Like Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo, You Don’t Know What War Is by Yeva Skalietska chronicles the first 12 days of the war in Ukraine.
Consisting of diary entries, text, newspaper headlines, and photographs, it illustrates the terrible upheaval that the unprovoked Russian attack had on her life. Aimed at readers 11 years and older, the book offers an in-depth look at the conflict through the eyes of a child. Her diary begins like any other 12-year-old: with entries about her friends, her toys, and a birthday party devoted to bowling. But at dawn on February 24, 2022, Yeva’s life was changed forever when she awoke to the terrifying sounds of shelling. Her dear Kharkiv, with all its beautiful buildings and iconic architecture, was no longer safe.
The narratives of sirens and bombs falling near her apartment bring the deadly situation to life before our eyes. Yeva and her grandmother take refuge in a crowded basement and palpable fear is evoked through detailed descriptions of sights, sounds and smells as well as a panicked exchange of WhatsApp messages. chaos.
When the situation worsened, they fled to a friend’s house on the other side of the city, but soon the shelling resumed and Yeva struggled with the dire situation. News of the army’s advance sent the family on the run again, this time to western Ukraine, where they met a British television crew who were able to move them to Budapest and into an adoption family. in Dublin. As a fascinating close-up account of war, this book should be read by both children and adults.
‘You Don’t Know What War Is’ by Yeva Skalietska, Bloomsbury, €12.99
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/book-reviews/a-powerful-account-of-escape-from-ukraine-42154517.html A powerful account of escaping from Ukraine