President of Ukraine

Olena Zelenska: In Ukraine's struggle for survival, books are also part of the struggle

14 February 2024 - 15:34

Olena Zelenska: In Ukraine's struggle for survival, books are also part of the struggle

Four new Ukrainian bookshelves have been opened in Canada, Spain, and Hungary as part of the project of the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.

The project to distribute Ukrainian books in libraries around the world encompasses more than 190 shelves with more than 47 thousand books, and is already operating in 46 countries (Austria, Türkiye, Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Latvia, Finland, Jordan, Croatia, Lebanon, Japan, Belgium, Albania, South Korea, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Norway, Moldova, Qatar, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Portugal, South Africa, Cyprus, the UAE, Namibia, North Macedonia, Hungary, Indonesia, Armenia, the United Kingdom, Serbia, the United States, Romania, Singapore, Mexico, Denmark, Argentina, Canada) and the UNESCO headquarters.

A Ukrainian bookshelf was opened in the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales de Québec (Montreal, Canada). This is the first shelf within the project in the country.

Olena Zelenska addressed the participants of the event with a video greeting: "Ukrainian books have been in Canada for a long time – together with the Ukrainian diaspora 120 years ago. No wonder Montreal has Shevchenko Boulevard, Ivan Franko Street, Ivan Franko Park – these writers were not here in person, but they definitely brought the Ukrainian spirit here. They have become an important part of the common Canadian spirit."

She noted that the collection of the Ukrainian bookshelf provided to Montreal consists of children's literature: "Now, when a child somewhere in Montreal says, "Mommy, read me a fairy tale," dozens of Ukrainian families will read wonderful fairy tales by contemporary Ukrainian authors. Their home evenings here in Canada will definitely become more Ukrainian."

The First Lady thanked Marie Grégoire, President and CEO of the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales de Québec and her team, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Book Institute, the Kyiv School of Economics and the Ukrainian Club of Montreal.

In addition, the Consulate General of Ukraine in Barcelona (Spain) implemented the "Ukrainian Bookshelf" project at the Can Sales Public Library in Palma de Mallorca. More than 200 books for children and teenagers were provided to the library. Among the authors are both Ukrainian classics and contemporary names, as well as Ukrainian translations of Miguel de Cervantes, Walter Scott, Homer, Hans Christian Andersen, O. Henry, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, etc.

In Hungary, a Ukrainian bookshelf was opened in two institutions at once: the Péter Méliusz Library (Debrecen) and the Zsigmond Móricz Regional and City Library (Nyíregyháza). The books were provided by the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine as part of the "Ukrainian Books for Ukrainian Children" campaign. In total, six shelves have already been opened in Hungary as part of the project.

"Of course, this is not just a reading project. Because in Ukraine's struggle for survival, books are also part of the struggle. Therefore, our books cross borders to find understanding and safety, to testify and tell about us. And, of course, to support our people – adults and children – as they have always done," the First Lady summarized.