Friday, December 30, 2022

Review: Finding Freedom by Maryna Kariuk

Genre: Children's 6-10
Published: November 30, 2022
Pages: 36

Inspired by the unity and courage of the Ukrainian people, Finding Freedom: A Ukrainian Tale of Home is a beautiful ode to Ukraine.

A young Ukrainian girl finds her beloved hometown in gloom and despair. She hears people crying out for freedom, and wonders where their freedom might have gone. To find out, she sets out on an uplifting journey through the landscapes and folklore of Ukraine.

"I close my eyes and feel the breeze.

I float through Black Sea shores.

Wind whispers through the willow trees,

and the mighty Dnieper roars."

Paired with a glossary and pronunciation guide, this timely picture book creates an opportunity for an important discussion about Ukrainian cultural heritage and the meaning of freedom.

Heartfelt rhymes and vibrant illustrations highlight the uniqueness of Ukraine-its beauty, land and pride-despite the years of oppression, and spark a strong message that will kindle any heart.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a cute little rhyming story that could help introduce children to the traditions of the Ukraine. There were a lot of words used that I didn't know what they are or mean, but the book provides a glossary that gives pronunciations and descriptions for them. So even I learned things from this book. 

The rhymes flowed really well in spite of my stumbling over the foreign words, so I'm guessing was written in English rather than translated to English. Although I recently read another children's book that the rhymes flowed really well and it was translated to English, so I could be wrong. It just had a nice melodic feeling to it. 

The illustrations were bright and colorful helping me to see the traditions and items mentioned, even when I wasn't familiar with them. I could definitely read this book more than once and probably still come away learning something the first few times. Overall I give this book 4.7 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Maryna Kariuk is a debut author, born and raised in Ukraine. The childhood memories of her motherland, especially summers spent in the countryside with her Babusia, have always inspired her to write. She resides in sunny California with her husband and two children.

Ksenia Markevych is a freelance illustrator based in Ukraine. She draws both digitally and using traditional media (watercolor, colored pencils, MixMedia, graphics). She cooperates with publishing houses, independent authors and magazines. She also creates illustrations for calendars, games and postcards. Ksenia's inspiration often comes from the beauty of nature, traveling, people-watching, and constantly learning something new. Through her illustrations, she conveys lightness and movement, which adds dynamism and an inner childlike freedom to each story.

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