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Maya and Her Friends


Nine year old Maya has 16 classmates all with different home backgrounds. Petro is a Roma, Hristina lives with her grandmother because her parents work abroad, Sofia’s father has disappeared during a war with Russia and Rais is a Crimean Tatar whose family had to leave his homeland. This story describes the lives of ordinary Ukrainian children living through hard times.

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ALL THE PUBLISHER’S PROFITS WILL BE DONATED TO CHARITIES HELPING TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN OF UKRAINE.”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 2022Since 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.

Additional information

Weight 0.34 kg
Dimensions 24.8 × 17.6 × 1.2 cm






64 unnumbered




Hardback original


891.7934 (edition:23)


Ages 5-12 / Code: B

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