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Andersen Press to publish Award-Winning Ukrainian Picture Book Silent Night, My Astronaut

15/05/2024 12:50:17

Andersen Press will publish Silent Night, My Astronaut: The First Days (and Nights) of the War in Ukraine, a powerful and uplifting picture book from all-Ukrainian creative team author Oksana Lushchevska and illustrator Kateryna Stepanishcheva, which serves as a timely introduction to the War in Ukraine from a child's perspective.

Ten percent of proceeds from this UK version will be donated to Voices of Children, a Ukrainian charitable foundation that supports families affected by the war in Ukraine. Andersen Press are working closely with the creative team and the charity on a large-scale media campaign to raise awareness of the book and through that, the work of the charity Voices of Children. The foundation is lead by Olena Rozvadovska, named by the BBC in 2023 on their 100 Women list.

Silent Night, My Astronaut was the winner of the Ukrainian winner of Goethe-Institut Best Book Design, originally published in Ukrainian.

The evening is long. It’s silent outside. We love silent. The most important thing is for the sirens not to howl.

It is a bright day in February, but 7 year-old Ia and her family are in the dark. Church bells are ringing, sirens are screaming. The War has begun. Ia holds the astronaut doll her father gave her close to her heart, and she wonders if there's a super-powerful astronaut in the sky, looking down and keeping her safe. A beautiful and powerful fully-illustrated picture book diary of the first ten days of the War in Ukraine that is full of love, hope and faith in peace.

Andersen Press’ Commissioning Editor for Picture Books, Alice Milner-Watt bought UK and English Language export rights from Charlotte Bodman at Rights People on behalf of Stimola Literary Studio. The charity partnership was brokered by Paul Black, PR and Brand Director at Andersen Press.

On the book, Alice Milner-Watt, Commissioning Editor for Picture Books, has said, “Silent Night, My Astronaut is a truly special and powerful story that, told in the voice of a young child, expresses the effect of war on children like no other picture book – promising that joy and hope can thrive even in the darkest times. We hope that the book will help raise awareness of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and that the money and awareness raised for Voices of Children will help children in need affected by the war.”

On the book author Oksana Lushchevska has said, “It is really important that we are creating this book for the young readers in the UK, your country is the one that support Ukrainians from the early on. We all are very connected and for sure we need to show children how people stand against the evil and how we are all dependable upon each other in our democratic world.”

Illustrator Kateryna Stepanishcheva, who is based in Kyiv, adds, “I’m very pleased to be working with Andersen Press to publish this version of the book in the UK and to draw attention to this very important subject not only in Ukraine but around the world. Because sharing such a difficult experience is extremely important in order to develop empathy and humanity. I am glad to cooperate with such a wonderful team at both Andersen Press and Voices of Children and hope we can raise lots of funds and attention for the charity!”

Olena Rozvadovska CEO of charity Voices of Children (pictured right) has added, " We are very happy to partner with Andersen Press on the UK publication of Silent Night, My Astronaut. The war in Ukraine has been ongoing for 10 years, commencing in 2014 and escalating to a full-scale invasion in 2022. There is no family in Ukraine that has not been affected by the war in one way or another: for some, it's relocation, for others, it's the loss of a father, home, or friends.

All of these children need support, especially psychological and psychosocial. This is what Voices of Children focuses on. Through our centres and online hotline, we provide assistance to 1,000 children and their parents every month. This is extremely important for cities like Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernihiv, and Zaporizhzhia, where schools work solely online, and clubs or large events are absent in the communities. Therefore, any live communication in our centres for children is already socialization and very important aid.

We understand that childhood cannot be put on hold. Children should experience a summer full of bright colours and smiles, so we organize camp programs in the west of Ukraine. We all in Ukraine understand that the war will unfortunately last long, and it is our duty to make better their childhood every day."

Silent Night, My Astronaut written by Oksana Lushchevska and illustrated by Kateryna Stepanishcheva, will be published 15th August, £12.99 hardback, ISBN: 9781839135972

For more information please contact Paul Black, PR and Brand Director at Andersen Press: pblack@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk