With Cherepanov’s “The Guardian of the Wood” a bilingual Italian-Ukrainian solidarity project for children fleeing war

Books to welcome. While the war in Ukraine continues to rage, the world of childhood civilization does not stand still. And he continues his educational, cultural and inclusive commitment with small concrete gestures to remain human. To protect the smallest, helpless and innocent: the first civilian victims of any uncivilized conflict.

The solidarity project in support of Welcome Refugees Italia has an evocative title: “The keeper of the forest”, which is also the title of an illustrated register of Oleksy Cherepanovwhich Il Castoro has decided to translate into an Italian-Ukrainian bilingual edition with opposite text to promote the integration and exchange between Italian and Ukrainian children aged 4 and over fleeing war and refugees in their respective languages. Italy, where even a small book bridge (as in the project Ibby Italy “Books to Welcome”, as we have already reported) can help overcome isolation, dissolve fear and facilitate dialogue through poetry of good images and words that create peace and harmony. Registered, translated by Lorenzo Pompeo (page 32, € 10) is now available in all bookstores and online stores: all proceeds from the sale of its copies will be donated to the organization Refugees welcome Italy (www.refugees-welcome.it) to support a deserving work of welcoming small refugees into families.

Oleksy Cherepanov is a Ukrainian author from Kharkiv who, after graduating from the Art Institute in his hometown, in the Department of Graphic Arts, began working in books with over twenty publishers from different countries in the world, especially illustrating encyclopedias of animals and books for children with his technique using watercolors and pencils evoke atmospheres imbued with magical poetry and respectful love of the beauty of nature. In The Guardian of the Forest, Oleksij delicately tells the story of a sensitive child artist who one fine morning decides to venture out into the woods to paint. Backpack on the shoulder and album under the arm, he immerses himself in a walk that becomes a multisensory experience, full of synaesthetic emotions that activate his imagination until he produces beautiful drawings and an adventure fruit of the experience, accompanied by a bird. yellow – or the forest ranger’s spirit – and occasionally enchanted encounters with creatures, real and imaginary, living in nature: elves and foxes, unicorns and owls, rabbits, flowers with colorful petals and millennial trees.

The forest, not only a powerful fairy-tale type, for the collective imagination, becomes here a metaphor for discovery, sharing, hope: and the beauty that fills the child’s eyes and heart, in its happy, peaceful and inspired homecoming, is such a warning – too often unheard of – about rediscovering what some call “zero-kilometer amazement,” that is, a vision open to the value that lies in every detail of the environment that surrounds us, in order to be preserved from all violence. Like life itself.

That is, the publisher The beaver motivates his choice: “Faced with the tragic nature of what is happening, we have decided to act through what represents us most, it is our job as editor and children’s stories, to give life to a solidarity project that we hope will unite people, create networks of support and relationships, as well as linguistic “. Also a story about authentic ties: «It all comes from friendship with the Ukrainian publisher Ranokfrom Kharkiv, who over the years has translated many important books in our catalog into his country, including “Nebbia” by Marta PalazzesiStrega Girls and Boys Award, “HB pencil” by Susanna Mattiangeli And Rita Petruccioli. We then wanted to support their work by acquiring from their catalog the illustrated book “The Guardian of the Forest” by Oleksij Cherepanov and publishing it in Italy in the Italian-Ukrainian bilingual language to facilitate the meeting between Italian and Ukrainian children and knowledge of the respective languages ​​and alphabets “.

It will be discussed on Sunday 22 May at The book fair in Turin (14.00-Sala Gialla – PAD 2), in a very special meeting: «From Kharkiv an Italian-Ukrainian book to build bridges». With In The Excavation (journalist on the front lines of «Avvenire») e Matteo Bassoli (Refugees Welcome Italia), and reading by the actress Lidia LiberamnThe testimony of Ukrainian publisher Ranok, who is currently being expelled, is also expected. A counter-current meeting, to talk about acceptance and integration in fragile and dramatic times of war, horror and senseless violence. The hope? “We hope,” concludes Il Castoro, “that this little book can be a useful tool for building relationships in schools or homes that welcome families fleeing the war. Or simply a way to be close to a country we hear terrible news about every day.

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