This picture book was originally published in Ukraine in 2017 and is now published in translation in the UK, with all the profits from its sale going to charities working with children in that country. It offers portraits of Maya and her classmates in a school in Kyiv. Each child or family has two pages of description, with striking illustrations by Masha Foya. The book’s original aim is to explain and validate the variety of the children’s family arrangements, which include sperm donation, adoption, step families, gay parents and absent parents. And the message is spelled out on the last page: ‘It doesn’t matter… if you are related by blood, or even how many mums and dads you have. The most important thing is to love and respect one another.’ This sentiment, and the experiences that it recognises, ought to be already familiar to children here. The relevance of the book now, of course, is the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the suffering of families like these in a brutal war. There are references in the book to the conflicts that were already taking place when it was first published. Rayis and his Tatar family have been displaced from their home in the Crimea by the Russians and Sophiya’s dad is missing in the fighting in Luhansk in the Donbas, places that have become very familiar to us in the last few months. The original text simply touches on these experiences, with footnotes to the English translation adding more detail for readers here. It seems to me that the book would be most useful to parents and teachers who want to have an opening for a discussion about how children in Ukraine might be suffering now, although they would probably require some supplementary information in support.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2022-05-20 08:00:412022-05-20 08:01:40Maya and Her Friends
Illustrator: Masha Foya