London, Jun 23 (PTI) Bloomsbury on Thursday announced that it will publish a moving diary of a 12-year-old Ukrainian girl, charting her journey with her grandmother from war-torn Kharkiv to eventual safety in Dublin.
"You Don't Know What War Is: The Diary of a Young Girl From Ukraine" is scheduled to hit bookstores in October.
On February 24, Yeva Skalietska was woken by the sound of explosions. She grew up living with her granny in Kharkiv, near the Russian border. Though there have been rumblings and rumours, few truly believed that war will break out between Russia and Ukraine.
And yet it had. What follows are 12 days in Ukraine that change Yeva's life forever. She and her grandmother rush to take shelter from the missile attacks in a dusty, crowded basement.
When the situation worsens, they need to find somewhere safer to stay, so they make their way to a friend's house in a different area of the city. But the conflict rages all around them and Yeva struggles to keep calm over the continual sound of explosions and shelling.
Eventually they take the difficult decision to head to Western Ukraine. It's there, in a makeshift shelter in a school hall, that Yeva meets the team of UK journalists. She tells them she is writing a diary.
The poise and maturity of Yeva's account are striking, and the crew features her in several news articles. They help Yeva and her granny cross the border into Hungary and, ultimately, to find a place to live in Dublin, where they are welcomed and cared for by their host, school teacher Catherine Flannagan.
Lara Hancock, head of Illustrated Publishing, with Commissioning Editor Sally Beets, acquired UK and Commonwealth Rights in auction from literary agent Marianne Gunn O'Connor of Marianne Gunn O'Connor Literary, Film/TV Agency.
"You Don't Know What War Is" has cover illustrations inspired by Ukrainian folk art by Anastasia Stefurak and illustrated maps of Kharkiv, Ukraine and Europe by Olga Shtonda, displaced Kharkiv-native.
"In 'You Don't Know What War Is', we read about Yeva's experience of the war in Ukraine in real time. Each diary entry is interspersed with personal photos Yeva took during her journey. Compelling and urgent, this book is a powerful document of a conflict few thought could happen, seen through the eyes of a child," says Hancock.
Yeva says she began writing this diary to help herself cope with her painful feelings and to write down her experiences so that years from now she can remember how her childhood was destroyed by war.
"Yeva's story has touched us deeply. Her writing is immediate and important and we are so honoured that Yeva chose to publish 'You Don't Know What War Is' with Bloomsbury. It is a book that everyone needs to read," says Beets.
According to O'Connor, Yeva was super excited that the publisher of the "Harry Potter" book series wanted to publish her diary.
"Yeva's diary is now sold in 12 languages and counting. This is a passion project for me and one that I'm committed to with my whole heart and soul. It's truly an honour to be part of Yeva's journey and to be able to make a difference," she adds.