Fulbright Scholar Teams Up with Ukrainian National to Publish Timely Children’s Picture Book, The Story of Ukraine

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#bilingualNew York Times bestselling author Michael Sampson and Ukrainian National Olena Kharchenko provide a guiding resource for children to better understand the gravity of democracy and independence with The Story of Ukraine: An Anthem of Glory and Freedom (Brown Books Kids; on sale: December 13, 2022). This bilingual English-Ukrainian picture book teaches the Ukrainian national anthem and testifies to this country’s importance for both English-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking children.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, Sampson — then serving as a Fulbright scholar to Ukraine — was evacuated to Warsaw, Poland, where he reported in real time to various publications: The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, The Tampa Bay Times, School Library Journal, and NPR. In the months that have followed, the plight of this beloved country has been felt around the world. Over eight million refugees have fled Ukraine, and the numbers continue to grow every day.

Following his evacuation, Sampson attended peace rallies in Warsaw where he heard people singing the Ukrainian national anthem. He was moved by the passion and love the people had for their country, and knew he wanted to replicate those same feelings on a national scale. Together, he, Kharchenko, and award-winning illustrator/Ukrainian refugee Polina Doroshenko teamed up to create The Story of Ukraine, so that children and families around the world will feel connected to Ukraine’s history and culture. The book focuses on Ukraine’s national anthem, which was written in the 1860s about fighting for freedom, and, unfortunately, remains true in 2022.

Global rights are currently being sold so that children everywhere can know Ukraine’s story (currently 30+ countries). Brown Books Kids collaborated with Ukrainian publisher, Old Lion Press, to have the book printed in Ukraine. Their team’s heartfelt response to the authors’ and publisher’s efforts was: “thank you for standing with us.”

“This book is the core of Ukrainianness — feel it with your heart.” —Larysa Denysenko, UN Goodwill Ambassador for Tolerance in Ukraine

“Packed with insight into what makes Ukraine unique and vital. A story beautifully told!” —Jeff Kinney, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

“A poignant celebration of a nation currently fighting for its survival.” —Washington Independent Review of Books

“A fervent celebration of Ukraine.” —Publishers Weekly