This Wednesday marks the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and author Kateryna Yehorushkina decided to write a book to help the country’s children deal with the trauma of the conflict.
Telling ABC News’ Britt Clennett, “I feel that it’s very important to talk about this war,” she emphasized the significance of discussing the conflict. “I think I’m making a difference.”
This book aims to tell a story about the Russian war in Ukraine for children in a way that is “not traumatic for them,” she said.
Among Yehorushkina’s other 15 children’s books is “The Chest,” which tells the story of the famine that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin inflicted on Ukraine in 1932–1922. In addition to her linguistics education, she also has a background in psychology.
“I felt I could combine and blend this knowledge to assist children in coping with this tragedy,” she explained. To be “aware of [the war] and possess recollections without severe emotional distress.”
UNICEF estimates that more than 3 million children inside the country and more than 2 million children as refugees need humanitarian assistance as a direct result of the war in Ukraine.
Vera, a young girl of ten years old, narrates the story. She lives in an unnamed region of Ukraine near Kyiv, which has recently been invaded by the Russian army. Vera is documenting her family’s reaction to the invasion in a diary.
Yehorushkina included details in her book that will ring true for children who have experienced invasion and occupation, such as taping windows (which is said to protect a window from shattering during a blast), storing pillows in the bathroom to use as head protection during bombing, and eventually seeking shelter in a basement.
After their house was destroyed, Vera and her family spent two weeks in the basement while her father volunteered to deliver food, water, and other necessities to people in need all over the city.
According to Yehorushkina, she has included things like an Elsa doll from the Disney film “Frozen” in her illustrations so that the children can recognize themselves in the story.
As she explained, the illustrations were designed to be very light and bright, so no dark colors were used.
She also noted that she needs to be in a “very calm psychological state” to get any writing done.
Yehorushkina is a Ukrainian author who lives in Vyshhorod. Her separation from her two young children was a major inspiration for the book. She explained that a scene in the book was inspired by her daughter and her friends’ habit of using the video game Minecraft to create elaborate simulations of their homes and cities.
Yehorushkina is a dual-licensed art therapist and art educator who specializes in working with children in Ukraine. She encourages kids to draw angels who they can then imagine are protecting their homes and families.
Their emotional well-being is crucial to me,” she emphasized.
She is a mother of two and has witnessed firsthand the toll that war takes on people emotionally.
She recalled telling her daughter that her feelings were typical, as she had experienced them herself. “It’s crucial that we express our emotions.”
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