Book Review · Books

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW]

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 

If you are looking for an inclusive picture book that also has beautiful illustrations and thought provoking stories, and you also want to help children in Ukraine, please look no further and grab Maya and Her Friends!

About The Book:

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 

Pages: 68

Genre: Children’s Book, Picture Book

Publisher: Studio Press (imprint of Bonnier books)

Format I read it in: Hardcover

Rating: ★★★★/★


Nine-year-old Maya goes to school in Ukraine and has sixteen classmates, all with different home backgrounds. As she introduces us to each of her friends, she shares an important message about love, respect, and what means to be a family.

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

My Thoughts:

Maya and Her Friends is a book by Ukrainian human rights activist and author Larysa Denysenko. The author wrote the introduction whilst hiding in Kyiv, and the book itself is a beautiful story about acceptance and tolerance in a country deeply affected by conflict.

I couldn’t help but read the first few pages, and I was so intrigued by Maya and her friends that I couldn’t put the book down until I finished. The tone of storytelling is very refreshing and gripping. We get to meet Maya’s friends from school and her teacher Yulia. Every child has a unique story. I was pleasantly surprised how inclusive and relatable these stories are.

I enjoyed the illustrations as well, and if you understand Cyrillic, or are in the process of learning the alphabet, you will have lots of fun seeing the children’s names written in Cyrillic – this being my main alphabet I really enjoyed the representation! The colours are vivid and the art style is very interesting too.

Maya has a very gripping voice of how she introduces her friends. And all friends share something interesting about them. We meet Hrystyna, who lives with her grandma, and Danylko, who doesn’t know who his father is. The twins Sophiya and Solomia, and the three Sophiyas that can cause some serious sophiyahavoc.

I warmly recommend this picture book! It’s funny and keeps you interested, I am sure children will love meeting Maya’s friends as well.

About The Author:

Maya and Her Friends by Larysa Denysenko [BOOK REVIEW] I warmly recommend this picture book! 

Larysa Volodymyrivna Denysenko is a Ukrainian writer, lawyer, human rights activist, TV and radio presenter, and member of the PEN Ukraine.

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Book Review · Books

The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend [BOOK REVIEW]

The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend book review hachette childrens book children adventure diaryofdifference

The Trials of Morrigan Crow was such an amazing experience for me, that brought back a lot of childhood memories, especially my curiosity for reading. 

Morrigan is our main character, and she is cursed, because she is born on Eventide. All cursed children like her, are going to die on Eventide, on their 11th birthday. Before Eventide happens and Morrigan turns 11, we get to meet her and find out more about her story. There is nothing too special about her, apart from the fact that her father is the mayor of the town. Also, Morrigan seems to cause bad luck for people. One kid lost his spelling bee contest, only because she wished him good luck. Another person had a heart attack, after meeting her on the street. People are convinced that she has a bad omen, only because of the day she is born.

When Eventide comes, on the eve, Morrigan is rescued by a strange man called Jupiter North, who takes her away just as her death ticks forward. The close escape against time brings Morrigan to the world of Nevermoor, and this is where things start to become exciting. 

In Nevermoor, everything is different and unique, not to say – magical.

The world is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, or read about. To me, it felt like a perfect mixture of Peter Pan’s Neverland and Disney’s Fantasia, alongside Mary Poppins (perhaps because of the magical umbrellas). 

Jupiter advises Morrigan that she is entering a trial, which if she passes would ensure her a spot at The Wundrous Society. This is Nevermoor’s most elite society and those who are lucky enough to be members earn respect in the society and have a celebrity-like status. Each member receives a golden “W” pin to wear with pride and be recognised in society. 

When the trials begin, Morrigan realises that she needs to have a knack, a sort of super power that is unique in order to be chosen. But she doesn’t think she is special. In fact, she thinks that spreading bad luck is her speciality, considering her past. The journey of discovering Morrigan’s knack is magical and truly an unique experience, that I wish I would forget about so I could read that part again and experience it in the same way again. 

I loved The Trials of Morrigan Crow, and I am sure you will too.

I wish this book was there for me when I was a child, because I would have cherished it like I cherish the Harry Potter and Narnia series. If you have children and they haven’t read it yet, I double-recommend it – for both yourself and your child/children. It is a gem, and it is no wonder it’s receiving so much love and hype.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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