A CHILDREN'S book reading at a special York arts event led to hopes of copies of it making their way to schools in war-torn Ukraine.

Ukrainian Art York, a group formed in 2023, hosted an event to celebrate the unique aspects of the country's culture at The Citadel in Gillygate on June 20.

The event featured examples of Ukrainian arts and crafts and stories of businesses formed before the Russian invasion of February 2022 but have continued to adapt and trade.

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Closing the exhibition was children’s book author Svetlana Carsten, with a special reading from her Ukrainian-English version of ‘Sofka and the Crusader’.

She acted as translator and interpreter for many of the first Ukrainians who sought sanctuary in York after the war began in their country.

The audience heard a performance of bandura playing and singing (Image: Kevin Glenton)

Svetlana said: “The book came to life out of compelling emotional motivation.

“Soon after the Putin regime launched a full-scale war against Ukrainian people, many civilians, predominantly women and children, fled Ukraine and moved to countries that offered them refuge, including the UK.

“Many came from Eastern Ukraine where Russian was widely spoken.

“I myself have Ukrainian roots but grew up speaking Russian.

“Now Russian is the language of the aggressor, and it is only natural to reject it and refuse to speak it because of its association with the perpetrators.”

Also taking part in the reading was Svitlana Basova, another translator who the author credited with doing 'a beautiful job' in helping to bring the work together.

Svetlana said after the reading she had received many words of encouragement and advice about getting the book over to Ukraine to be read in schools there.

Organisers at Ukrainian Art York said the group has taken part in many cultural events in York as well as presenting handmade works in fairs across Yorkshire.

The celebration co-incided with World Refugee Day, and the two hour event featured a performance from Bandura players and singers Julia Kogut-Kalynyuk and Kateryna Trachuk, professional players of the 65-stringed traditional instrument.