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Ukrainian children's book writer imagines war through eyes

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and children’s book author Katerina Yehorshkina decided to write a book to help children in this country deal with the trauma of war.

“I feel it’s very important to talk about this war,” she told ABC News reporter Britt Clennett. “I feel like I’m doing my part.”

The goal of the book, she said, is to tell children about Russia’s war in Ukraine in a way that’s “non-traumatic to them.”

Yehorushkina is the author of 15 children’s books, including “The Chest,” about the famine in Ukraine imposed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1932-22. She is also trained in philosophy and psychology.

“I felt that I could participate and mix this knowledge to help my children overcome this trauma,” she said. [about the war], to have memories, but not to suffer much trauma. ”

Children’s book author Katerina Yehorshkina talks to ABC News’ Britt Clennett.

ABC News

The war has had a dramatic impact on more than 5 million Ukrainian children, and UNICEF is working to support the more than 3 million children living in the country and the more than 2 million children living as refugees. We estimate that they are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The story is told through the perspective of 10-year-old Vera, who lives in an unidentified region of Ukraine near Kyiv that has just been invaded by Russian forces. is explained.

In her book, Yehorushkina describes events recognizable to children who have experienced the invasion and occupation, such as putting tape on windows, which is said to prevent windows from breaking in blasts, and placing pillows in bathrooms. has been published. She holds her head in case of artillery fire and eventually takes refuge in the basement.

Vera and her family live in the basement of their house for two weeks, while Vera’s father volunteers to deliver groceries, pet food and other supplies to the city.

Yehorushkina also placed doll-like objects of Elsa, the Disney character from the movie Frozen, into the illustrations so that children could see themselves in the story. she said.

The illustrations intentionally do not use dark colors and are kept very bright and bright.

Photo: Children's book author Katerina Yehorshkina shows the manuscript pages of her book.

Children’s book author Katerina Yehorshkina shows the manuscript pages of the book.

ABC News

The process of writing a book is “not easy,” she said, adding that she should be in a “very calm state of mind” while writing.

Yehorushkina lives in Vyshhorod, Ukraine and is currently away from her two young children who provided some of the inspiration for writing this book. Her daughter and her friends used the video game Minecraft to recreate homes and cities, she said, which inspired scenes in the book.

Yehorushkina is also a licensed art therapist, working with Ukrainian children in a variety of settings. One of her activities that she does with her children is painting angels. They imagine angels guarding their cities and loved ones.

“Their mental health is a very high priority for me,” she said.

As a mother of two children, she has seen firsthand the devastating psychological effects of surviving war.

“I said [my daughter], “All your feelings are normal,” she said. “It’s very important to say what we feel.”