Parents' Guide to

You Don't Know What War Is: The Diary of a Young Girl from Ukraine

By Mary Krawczyk, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Engaging account of brave tween's wartime experiences.

A dove-like bird carries a flower in its beak; petals from the flower are falling down along the book's title.

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This is a simply told and important story about current events, giving the war in Ukraine a name and a face. In You Don't Know What War Is: The Diary of a Young Girl from Ukraine, Yeva is an engaging narrator. Through a child's eyes, she witnesses the horrors of war and also the courage and perseverance of the Ukranian people. Young readers will relate to Yeva, a tween who texts her friends, takes piano lessons, and cherishes her favorite stuffed animal (a pink cat). Readers will learn about courage and perseverance as they follow Yeva's journey to safety with her grandmother.

Although this slim book is not graphic, Yeva describes her intense feelings of fear and panic as she constantly hears bombs and explosions during the first days of the war. She also refers to her sadness as Kharkiv is destroyed and she is separated from her home and friends. However, the book ends with positivity and hope. Yeva's gratitude and curiosity shine through as travels to different places and starts a new life.

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