National Library for Children

A child explores the ceramic frieze depicting Ukrainian fairytales by Ukrainian artist Olga Rapay-Markish in the National Library for Children in Kyiv. Photograph: Serhii Korovayny/The Observer

The National Library for Children in Kyiv, Ukraine, is open and functioning as a place of refuge for children traumatized by the ongoing war. Recently, hundreds of books by award winning children’s author Shirley Hughes were donated by her son Ed Vulliamy to the library, which he knew would have made his mother extremely happy. And more of her books will be going to other children’s libraries in Ukraine. Lada Tsybulska is the library psychologist, and her philosophy is “a book is the best doctor for the soul”. The director Alla Gordiienko calls the library “a place for emotional shelter” for moms and their children. What a valuable use for a library…

Library director Alla Gordiienko (in embroidered blouse), Ed Vulliamy and Raechel Isolda, ‘prime mover’ of the books donation project, with children at the library. Photograph: Serhii Korovayny/The Observer

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