You Don’t Know What War Is a book by Yeva Skalietska

25 November 2022

You Don't Know What War Is, by Yeva Skalietska, book cover

Nine months have passed since Russia commenced its illegal invasion of Ukraine. Despite the brutality of the aggressors, Ukrainian defenders have steadfastly resisted Russian attempts to deprive them of their sovereignty. And while many of us empathise with the struggle of the Ukrainian people, few can truly understand the horrors they confront daily.

Stories and books, such as You Don’t Know What War Is (published by Bloomsbury), written by twelve year old Ukrainian girl Yeva Skalietska, are vital when it comes to appreciating what is happening, even if they can only impart some of the experience, some of the constant, around the clock, fear:

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.


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