Maya and Her Friends


Maya and Her Friends is Maya’s introduction to Miss Yulia’s class. There seventeen pupils in this Year 5 class. It seems they have the same needs alongside different hopes and dreams. However, each of them longs for the Russian war in their country, Ukraine, to end.

Alongside three Sophiyas, one of whom is a twin and Maya’s best friend, there’s Danylko, whom she loves, and Aksana whose mother died. The class planted Aksana’s mother’s favourite flower, yellow hollyhocks, that they might remember Aksana’s mother. Then there’s Krystyna whose parents work abroad from Ukraine, so that she lives with her grandmother and Kyrylo with his ‘amazing mentor‘. Then there are the cousins, Nastya and Nazar and Tymko whose parents alternate over his living arrangements.

We love and recognise every one of the descriptions. What’s more, we recognise these children, for they live lives like ours and have the same ups and downs, uncertainties, sadnesses and joys. However, they are amidst a war.

Bonnier Books  has donated all profits from the sale of this title to charities ‘helping to protect the children of Ukraine’. However, this book is so much more than a ‘charity’ book. Bookwagon asserts that it’s a statement about each of us, humanity and our connection. What’s more, it is a beautiful, proud creation that merits a place on bookshelves across the United Kingdom. We recommend Maya and her Friends unequivocally.

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Maya and Her Friends

A story about tolerance and acceptance to support the children of Ukraine

Larysa Denysenko and Masha Foya

(Bonnier)- hardback

All publisher profits donated to charities helping to protect the children of Ukraine

Maya and Her Friends are in Miss Yulia’s class. There are the Sophiyas, one of whom is ‘one of [Maya’s] best friends’. It seems she has a twin sister. Although they were ‘test-tube babies‘, they are ‘just like us’. Then again, so is Danylko. Although ‘his father didn’t go missing during the war, [but] disappeared before Danylko was born, [his] mum isn’t looking for his dad‘. Meanwhile Kyrylo ‘has a mother and a father’ who didn’t look ‘after him properly.’ It seems Kyrylo’s mentor, Borys, ‘is amazing‘. Thanks to him, Kyrylo joined Maya’s class. What’s more Kyrylo shares Maya’s dream of being an adventurer.
As we meet the members of Miss Yulia’s class, we see again and again how the differences between the classmates are only surface deep. In fact each child has the same needs, alongside hopes and dreams of safety, happiness and a future. While we live alongside Russia’s war in Ukraine, it seems more poignant to consider Maya’s family and friends. It seems this group, like each of A Kid in My Class, are disparate yet united.
Altogether from the descriptions to the ambition to the presentation and its charity, Maya and Her Friends is a mighty title. Therefore, Bookwagon recommends this book highly for home and school.


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