The Crisis in Ukraine: How War Changed Rondo
How War Changed Rondo
Written by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv
Translated by Oksana Lushchevska
Published in 2021 by Enchanted Lion Books
At The Classroom Bookshelf, we have been thinking about the ways in which we talk about the war in Ukraine with our students. We imagine that you, too, are thinking about how you can talk about this moment in history in your classrooms. We know children are looking to adults to help them make sense of unthinkable events. Children’s books are one place to start.
How War Changed Rondo
What happens when War rolls into town? How War Changed Rondo was informed by the Ukranian Revolution of Dignity and the arrival of war in early 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. This United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Outstanding International Book of 2022 was created by the Ukrainian husband-and-wife team of Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv. They made this book as a response to their lived experiences of war. How War Changed Rondo was translated by Oksana Lushchevska in 2021 and published in English with the support of the Translate Ukraine Translation Program. As described by USBBY, this picturebook features, “startling illustrations of a trio of unconventional characters,” who unite in stopping the antagonist, War. The story is set in the fictional town of Rondo, which is renowned for its extraordinary greenhouses of musical flowers and features three protagonists. Danko has a transparent body that glows warmly like a light bulb. The treasure hunter Fabian, resembles a dog-shaped balloon animal. Last, the aviator Zirka has a bird-like origami body folded from maps and newspaper stories about War. Together, the three friends rally their community to devise a solution that halts War. The texts and images of this powerful picturebook go hand-in-hand to demonstrate how Danko, Fabian, and Zirka respond to the suffering of their town. The mixed-media illustrations feature a motif of cogwheels, gears, and mechanisms that are only operable in coordination with each other. Moreover, the illustrations undergo dramatic shifts in color when War enters and ultimately departs Rondo. The hopeful conclusion of this story is not saccharine, but realistic about the long-lasting scars and wounds that War causes, providing an important classroom tool for addressing the effects of war on people and communities. How War Changed Rondo is a picturebook that can support you and your students to both inform and provide a sense of reassurance in unsettling times.
Grades pre-K and up
To support your work in fostering classroom conversations about war that build compassion and empathy and work toward activism, we have curated the following resources. We hope they help.
Learn more about the Crisis in Ukraine
Ukraine Curriculum – Choices Program, Brown University
8 Resources Teachers Are Using to Discuss Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine by EducationWeek.
Learn more about the book, How War Changed Rondo
Interview with Romanyshyn and Lesiv on the Picturebook Makers blog.
New York Times Book Review
Lear more about the author, illustrator, and translator of How War Changed Rondo
Let’s Talk Picturebooks Interview with Romanyshyn and Lesiv
Translator Oksana Lushchevska on International Children’s Literature
Other Recent Picturebooks about War
Letters on the War: Children Write to Soldiers – in Ukraine
Designed by Olena Staranchuk. Translated by Oksana Lushchevska and Michael Naydan (2015)
The Day War Came by Nicola Davies (2018)
War by Jose Jorge Letria and André Letria
Translated by Elisa Amado (2021)
The Cat Man of Aleppo by Karim Shamsi-Basha, Irene Latham, and Yuko Shimizu (2020)
Classroom Bookshelf Entries about the Experiences and Aftermath of War
Love in Action: Children’s Literature to Promote Hope and Counter Fear
Children as Refugees: The Syrian Crisis
A Search for Identity and Home in Boy, Everywhere
Room on Our Rock
The Night Diary
Escape from Aleppo
I’m Your Neighbor Books: Immigration Children’s Literature
Breaking Stalin’s Nose
Resources for Discussing War and Conflict with Children
A Guide for Classroom Conversations – Fostering Civil Discourse
Resilience in a time of war: Tips for parents and teachers of elementary school children by the American Psychology Association.
It makes sense that the attack on Ukraine is causing you anxiety, experts say. Here’s what to do by CNN Health.
How to talk to children about war: An age-by-age guide by The Today Show.
Helping Your Students Cope With a Violent World by Edutopia.
Talking With Children About War and Violence In the World by TeacherVision.
Talking to Your Kids about War by VeryWell Family.
Veteran Teachers on How to Talk with Your Students About the War in Ukraine by TeacherVision.
About Denise Davila
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