Oct 25, 2022
‘gripping and moving diary’
You Don't Know What War Is
Published in the UK and US today
“You Don’t Know What War Is speaks directly to you, you can’t look away, you can’t think away. I felt this is a book every child should read, just like we should all read Anne Frank, and every adult should read as well. I think it’s a remarkable book from an extraordinary child.”
- Michael Morpurgo
Published in the UK by Bloomsbury and in the US by Union Square, and in association with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with a foreword by Michael Morpurgo.
Everyone knows the word 'war'. But very few understand what it truly means. When you find you have to face it, you feel totally lost, walled in by fright and despair. Until you've been there, you don't know what war is.
This is the gripping and moving diary of young Ukrainian refugee Yeva Skalietska. It follows twelve days in Ukraine that changed 12-year-old Yeva's life forever. She was woken in the early hours to the terrifying sounds of shelling. Russia had invaded Ukraine, and her beloved Kharkiv home was no longer the safe haven it should have been. It was while she was forced to seek shelter in a damp, cramped basement that Yeva decided to write down her story. And it is a story the world needs to hear.
Yeva captured the nation's heart when she was featured on Channel 4 News with her granny as they fled Ukraine for Dublin. In You Don't Know What War Is, Yeva records what is happening hour-by-hour as she seeks safety and travels from Kharkiv to Dublin. Each eye-opening diary entry is supplemented by personal photographs, excerpts of messages between Yeva and her friends and daily headlines from around the world, while three beautifully detailed maps (by Kharkiv-native Olga Shtonda) help the reader track Yeva and her granny's journey. You Don't Know What War Is is a powerful insight into what conflict is like through the eyes of a child and an essential read for adults and older children alike.
“I wish Yeva Skalietska hadn't felt the need to write this book but I'm glad that she did write it - because it is exhilarating, shattering, heartbreaking, brilliant. It's an extraordinary book”
Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize-winning author
“This book has touched my heart in a way that I am finding hard to put into words. Everyone, absolutely everyone, should read it. You will love Yeva”
Christy Lefteri, No.1 international bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo
“The most important story of our times told from the inside by the best narrator: a wise twelve-year-old girl”
Viv Groskop, comedian, writer and podcaster
“Yeva's diary allows the reader to experience war through the eyes of a child and her story will endure long after this terrible war ends”
Lord Alf Dubs, refugee rights campaigner
“I'll never forget the first time Yeva read extracts from her diary to me in a refugee shelter at the start of the full-scale war. With this book, we all get that privilege”
Paraic O'Brien, Channel 4 News reporter
“Powerful and poetic, this beautiful book shows the very worst and the very best of humanity. Essential reading”
Katya Balen, Carnegie Medal-winning author
“Records the immediate sounds and sensations of explosions, sirens, and panic. . . . A firsthand account that shows courage”