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Maya And Her Friends | Hardback | By Larysa Denysenko


Code 9781800784147

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Product Information
  • Maya and Her Friends
  • Pages: 72
  • Format: Hardback
  • Author: Larysa Denysenko
  • Illustrator: Masha Foya
  • Publisher: Bonnier Books
  • Publication date: 12 Apr 2022
  • Category: Multiculturalism / War & Conflict / Picture Books 
  • Age: 7+
  • Size: 24.5 x 17.1 cm
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Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko



"I wrote this book about different children from different Ukrainian families in 2017, when Russia had conquered Crimea and temporarily occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk. I write these forewords in the bathroom of my Kiev home in the roar of a Russian assailant's fire. I can imagine that one of Maya's classmates is now praying in a bomb shelter, another is writing a letter to his imprisoned father in Russia, and a third has already lost a loved one. It is less likely that one of the boys or girls will start their life in Helsinki. War is always catastrophic for children. I want to shout that the children of my country need international protection. The world needs to understand this." Larysa Denysenko, February 2022

Since the occupation of Crimea in 2014, Ukrainian families with children have had to live their daily lives in the shadow of the threat of war. Maya and Her Friends tells the story of ordinary Ukrainian children and their families.

Nine-year-old Maya has 16 classmates, all with different home backgrounds.

Sofia's father has disappeared in the battles against Russia. When the war ends, he will hopefully be found.

Aksana lives with her father because her mother is dead.

Hristina lives with her grandmother because her parents are working abroad.

Rais is a Crimean Tatar whose family had to leave his homeland due to the Russian occupation.

Timko's parents are divorced, and he lives alternately with his mother and father.

Petro is a Roma and has a huge family clan.

Maya herself, on the other hand, has two mothers.


'Maya and Her Friends was written to highlight the fact that children should be allowed to live in safety and love, no matter how many parents they have, whether they may be orphans, have been separated from their parents by war or migration, or have had to flee their homes.' LoveReading4Kids.co.uk

About the Author

Ukrainian Larysa Denysenko is a well-known writer, lawyer, human rights activist, and TV and radio journalist in the Ukraine. She is also a member of the Ukrainian PEN* and is serving as a UN Goodwill Ambassador to increase tolerance in Ukraine.


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