In the basement of her library in Lviv, western Ukraine, Romana Eremin displays hundreds of books stored almost to the ceiling, evacuated from areas devastated by fighting with the Russian army. Now stored in a children’s reading room, it’s just a fraction of what the publisher was able to salvage from the bombings.
Truck full of books
” Our warehouse workers tried to clear at least some books. They filled a truck and it was all delivered via a postal company Romana Erimine, 27, explains in a yellow hoodie. They started with the newest and most popular editions, mostly children’s books.
Lviv, a major city in western Ukraine, has been relatively spared the fighting since the Russian invasion began two months ago, with the exception of a few deadly air raids. Thousands of people, mostly women and children, have fled to Lviv or crossed the city into Europe since the fighting began.
Polinka, written before the Russian invasion
” I don’t know how my colleagues managed to stay in Kharkiv. Those who escaped and stayed with me said they feel like the city will be destroyed ‘, explains Romana. The library immediately reopened in the wake of the invasion, explains Romana. It provided shelter in the basement when anti-bomb sirens sounded, and organized readings for children for the displaced.
In the first wave of arrivals, parents who fled their homes leaving almost everything behind swarmed to find fables to tell their children to entertain. some bought Pollenka, the story of a girl and his grandfather, published just before the invasion and written by an author now in the foreground. ” He wanted to leave something for his grandchildren Romana Iaremyn explains.
“Children want to read”
As sirens go off in Lviv to signal the end of the morning alert, baristas return to their coffee shops to heat up their espresso machines until the next panic. The sun begins to fade in the blue sky and a young man and woman embrace on the balcony. Many bookstores in the city are open.
At the pedestrian crossing down a central road, many small stalls sell translations of foreign classics such as 1984 by George Orwell or even Japanese manga.
Irina, 48, wears a light blue coat and woolen hat, along with rows of literature and history books for sale or rent, the latter option being especially popular with older clients.
Irina, who did not want to reveal her surname, explains that she stopped working for more than a month after the start of the war. When she returned to the field in early April, many parents came from the East to fetch books for their children. ” I gave them a lot, because children want to read “, as you say.
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