Bonnier Books UK is to release Maya and Her Friends by Ukrainian author Larysa Denysenko and illustrator Masha Foya, in support of the children of Ukraine.
It will be published simultaneously in Sweden, Finland and Poland, and all the publisher’s profits from the sale will be donated to Unicef. Madhatter Bookshop will be stocking Maya and Her Friends and also donating all the profits from its sales to Unicef ensuring 100% of the profits from this book reaches the children who need our help.
First published in Ukraine in 2017, Maya and Her Friends tells the story of nine-year-old Maya and her 16 classmates, all with different backgrounds and upbringings. It is the story of ordinary Ukrainian children and their families, and lives lived in the shadow of the constant threat of war following the occupation of Crimea in 2014.
Denysenko is a well-known writer, lawyer, human rights activist and journalist in Ukraine. She is also a member of Ukrainian PEN and is serving as a UN Goodwill Ambassador to increase tolerance in the country. The book was written to highlight how 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.
“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," Denysenko said. "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 Maja’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 against children. With this text, I want to shout to the world that the children of my country need international protection.”
Maya and Her Friends is an urgent call to protect the children and families caught up in this terrible, unjustifiable war. Like so many around the world, we have been following the devastating events unfolding in Ukraine with horror and heartbreak. As publishers and booksellers, bringing this brave and beautifully empathetic book to readers in aid of Unicef is one of the small ways in which we can help.
Maya and Her Friends will be on sale in early April - to pre-order your copy click below and send us an email. We will then ensure a copy is put aside for you.