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Dec 22, 2022

You Don’t Know What War Is
is a Sunday Times Book Of The Year

Yeva Skalietska’s

Of the audio edition, read by Keira Knightley, The Sunday Times said ‘Skalietska’s voice (and Knightley’s narration) is clear, direct and intimate. You won’t listen dry-eyed’

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In the Irish Independent young readers round up Sarah Webb said ‘it’s written with honesty and heart and gives an important child’s eye view’.

In the Sunday Independent selection of best YA titles Justine Carbery describes it as the ‘heart stopping first-hand account of the war in Ukraine, calling it ‘a vital read for everyone’ .

You Don’t Know What War Is is the diary of Yeva’s experiences of fleeing war in Ukraine and settling in Dublin.  Published in October the UK by Bloomsbury (partnered with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency) and in the US by Union Square Publishers, the book has been translated into sixteen languages.

Introduced by Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, it has been compared to Anne Frank’s diary for its powerful insight into what conflict is like through the eyes of a child.

Praise for You Don't Know What War Is:

“Yeva speaks a truth that all of us, young and old, must listen to”

Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse

“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

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

“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

“Powerful and poetic, this beautiful book shows the very worst and the very best of humanity. Essential reading”

Katya Balen, Carnegie Medal-winning author

“This is one of those extraordinary books that will haunt readers for a very long time”

Irish Times

“[A] heartbreaking revelation of war through a child's eyes”


“It resonates beyond the particular to convey what it means to lose everything suddenly, the horror of bombardment and the need to make those who run from danger safe”

The Sunday Times

“This is an important book - a recording of history written by Yeva, a young person, whose words and feelings reflect so many who rarely get an opportunity to be heard. A herstory of Ukraine for posterity”

Olia Hercules, Ukrainian chef and food writer

“Records the immediate sounds and sensations of explosions, sirens, and panic. . . . A firsthand account that shows courage.”

Kirkus Reviews

Skalietska’s writing is quick-paced and to-the-point, frankly describing her experiences during a horrific time of shelling, seeking shelter, and frantic arrangements to keep moving to somewhere safe. . . Skalietska’s book is empathetic and sympathetic reading for adults and has strong crossover appeal for YA readers.”

Library Journal

“Shows how quickly life can change. An authentic look at seeking safety in war and the upheaval of suddenly losing everything. A quick, powerful read.”

Teen Librarian Toolbox

“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

Listen to Yeva on Today with Claire Byrne, RTE Radio 1

Press for Yeva and You Don't Know What War Is:

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