#ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2023 in partnership with Children’s Book Council is excited to present Ukrainian author and illustrator, Oleksandr Shatokhin, with his book list of picture books to understand the Ukraine war.
We also have a giveaway of Yellow Butterfly: A Story From Ukraine. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
Picture Books to Understand the Ukraine War
Yellow Butterfly: A Story From Ukraine by Oleksandr Shatokhin
In the midst of terrifying darkness surrounded by barbed wire, a yellow butterfly emerges and crosses over to the child. The yellow butterfly leads the child on a journey, finding inspiration and hope in the people carrying on everyday life despite the barrage of bombs. In fact, no amount of bombing can destroy the hope for peace and freedom. Slava Ukraini. [wordless picture book, ages 4 and up]
My Uncle is Coming Tomorrow by Sebastián Santana Camargo, translated by Elisa Amado
This is a spare black and white picture book that seems like a happy reunion story of a nephew eagerly waiting for his uncle to visit. But then the story does something unexpected. The boy who is waiting for his uncle to show him how to stop a penalty shop starts to get older and older (though it’s communicated more by the words than the illustration). Finally, the last page is dedicated to those who, because of forced disappearances, have never been able to come home. The Afterword has more information about forced disappearance including examples in modern history. Forced disappearances number more than 15,000 in Ukraine as a result of the war with Russia. [picture book, ages 10 and up]
The Day War Came by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
I can’t say the words that tell you
about the blackened hole
that had been my home.
All I can say is this:
War took everything.
Wark took everyone.
I was ragged, bloody, all alone.
It seems like an ordinary day of going to school for a young girl, but it’s not. It’s the day that war came and destroyed everything she knew and loved. Now, all alone, she is a refugee trying to survive on her own. She walks and walks, turned away by everyone she encounters until she comes upon a school. It seems that there is no room for her until a little boy helps out by offering her a chair so that she can join the class. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Every second, a child becomes a refugee in Ukraine. It is estimated that two-thirds of Ukraine’s children had to flee their homes since the war began on February 24, 2022.
The Journey by Francesca Sanna
The war began. Every day bad things
started happening around us and
soon there was nothing but chaos.
And one day the war took my father.
A mother and her children must flee their home when war breaks out. They hope to go to a place far away where they will be safe, but it’s a long, difficult, and dangerous journey. There are free teaching resources about refugees including classroom notes on The Journey on the Amnesty International website. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Hand in Hand by Andria Rosenbaum
Soldiers stomp into town on one terrible day. Ruthi and her little brother Lieb wait for mama to return with food but she never does. They are sent to an orphanage where Lieb is adopted overseas. Ruthi tears a photo of the two of them in half so he can have a photo of her. The war ends, and Ruthi starts a new life in a new country, but always has Lieb’s photo under her pillow. Years go by, then decades. One day, she gets a letter. Can it really be her Lieb? She has kept her promise to never let go. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Leaving My Homeland: A Refugee’s Journey from Ukraine by Ellen Rodger
Published in 2018, this nonfiction picture book details the Russia-Ukraine conflict over Donetsk Oblast, a part of Ukraine in the eastern region that the Russians took control of in 2014. This is a story of internally displaced persons (IDPs), particularly using one family as an example, who are forced to move several times without different regions of Ukraine. This story repeats itself regarding the war that began on February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine and attempted to take over Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. The difference between this story and current times is that most of the people fleeing Ukraine have to leave their country. The book ends with a “You Can Help!” page that has ideas of how a reader can help newcomers and refugees. This can be a great lead in to discussing war, as well as empowering young readers on how to make a difference in their own community. [nonfiction picture book, ages 8 and up]
Why War Is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker
Though War is Old
It has not
It will not hesitate
Belong to it
Alice Walker uses free verse poetry to describe War as if it were a person. With simple examples, she describes War’s devastation and wanton destruction. This is a picture book to help young readers who haven’t experienced war firsthand, feel its impact. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope by Michael Foreman
In a pile of rubble, a child finds a single green sprout and tends to it until it grows big enough to climb over the barbed wire fence, separating two countries at war. It’s a grapevine. But one day, the soldiers on the other side destroy it. The boy is heartbroken but come spring, some seeds from his vine have sprouted on the other side where a little girl tends them. Soon, he finds new shoots on his side as well. The plants grow big and intertwine, hiding the barbed wire fence. And perhaps one day, the fence will disappear altogether. Geographic boundaries can change during a war. This story celebrates the enduring human spirit. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Yellow Butterfly: A Story From Ukraine GIVEAWAY
We are giving away a copy of Yellow Butterfly: A Story From Ukraine. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
Oleksandr Shatokhin is an artist and children’s book illustrator who lives and works in Ukraine. On the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Oleksandr and his family left their home in Sumy, close to the Russian border, for Poltava. On the way there, they were held up in occupied Trostianka (Sumy region) but finally managed to travel through the “green corridor” to reach their friends in Poltava. Oleksandr’s wife and child continued on to the safety of Poland. The author stayed in Ukraine. After two months apart the family was reunited in Western Ukraine and are now living together in the city of Lviv close to the Polish border.
Join us for our Read Your World Virtual Party
Thursday, January 26, 2023
9:00 – 10:00 pm EST
We will be giving away 14+ book bundles!