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New children's book about Ukrainian war refugees reaches Estonian schools

The children's book
The children's book "The Girl Who Kept Her Eyes Open." Source: Press materials

On October 12, the European Commission published a new children's book in Estonian entitled "The Girl Who Kept Her Eyes Open," which tells the story of the war in Ukraine. The book will help to raise awareness in Estonia about the impact of Russia's aggression in Ukraine on the daily lives of war refugees, as well as increase discussions and understanding between children and adults.

The children's book "The Girl Who Kept Her Eyes Open" tells the story of a young Ukrainian girl, who encounters a particularly attentive Estonian girl at her new school in Estonia. The book illustrates the importance of children noticing and supporting each other, when there are children at their school who have been forced to move to a foreign country due to war. The book is aimed at children aged 7-10, as well as their parents and teachers. For this unique project, the European Commission collaborated with renowned Ukrainian illustrator Anna Sarvira.

There are currently over 40,000 Ukrainian war refugees in Estonia, at least 8,400 of whom are children and young people attending Estonian kindergartens or schools. The new children's book is part of the European Commission's "Keep Your Eyes Open" campaign, which aims to raise awareness among young people of victims' rights. The book calls for solidarity with and understanding for, war refugees, who are in need of particular types of support and attention.

According to EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, the aim of the campaign is to spread the European Commission's message as widely as possible.

"Understanding the experiences of people fleeing war and recognizing their rights is essential to building a healthier, more compassionate and fairer society. Engaging children at an early age through the book will hopefully help us to shape a brighter future for all," said Reynders.

"'The Girl Who Kept Her Eyes Open' has been translated into 13 languages (Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian and Slovak). The books in Estonian and Ukrainian will be distributed to schools and libraries across Estonia, as well as to non-profit organizations, to ensure that the message reaches as many readers as possible. "

A free e-book of the Estonian language version of the book is also available and can be downloaded here (link to pdf).

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Editor: Michael Cole

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