Ukraine: Books & Films

Ukrainian flag waving in wind, blue sky background.

To help provide some context to the conflict in Ukraine, our librarians have compiled a list of books and films relating to Ukrainian history and culture.

Adult Books

  • Strangers in the land : the Ukrainian Presence in Cape Breton / John Huk. First published in 1986, Strangers in the Land is a carefully researched telling of stories of Cape Breton’s Ukrainians, written by a son of the community, John Huk.
  • In wartime : stories from Ukraine / Tim Judah. An evocative exploration of what the second largest country in Europe feels like in wartime. Making his way from the Polish border in the west, through the capital city and the heart of the 2014 revolution, to the eastern frontline near the Russian border, war reporter Tim Judah brings a rare glimpse of the reality behind the headlines
  • Daughters of the resistance / Kortchik, Lana. Ukraine, 1943 On a train from Ukraine to Germany, Lisa Smirnova is terrified for her life. The train is under Nazi command, heading for one of Hitler’s rumoured labour camps. As she is taken away from everything she holds dear, Lisa wonders if she will ever see her family again. (Historical Fiction)
  • The rose of Sebastopol / Katharine McMahon. In 1854, beautiful, adventurous Rosa Barr travels to the Crimean battlefield with Florence Nightingale’s nursing corps–then disappears without a trace. (Historical Fiction)
  • Good citizens need not fear / Maria Reva. A bureaucratic glitch omits an entire building, along with its residents, from municipal records. So begins Reva’s ingenious novel-in-stories, intertwined narratives that span the chaotic years leading up to and immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union. (Historical Fiction)
  • Return to Ukraine/ Ania Savage. This book is an account of the American author’s quest for the “hidden bonds” of kinship in her native Ukraine. It is also a perceptive description of a country rediscovering its identity in the last tumultuous days of the Soviet Union.
  • Baba’s kitchen : Ukrainian soul food with stories from the village / by Raisa Marika Stohyn (Raisa Stone).
  • The last green valley / Mark Sullivan. From the author of the #1 bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a historical novel inspired by one family’s incredible story of daring, survival, and triumph. In late March 1944, as Stalin’s forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear’s intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves-murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect “pure-blood” Germans?. (Historical Fiction).

Children’s Books

  • The Mitten : a Ukrainian folktale / adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett. Baba, Nicki’s grandmother, knits pure white mittens for him, even though she is afraid that he will lose them in the snow. Sure enough, the first time Nicki is out, he drops one and some animals promptly move into its snug wool interior. (Picture Book)
  • The winter horses / Philip Kerr. This story follows the harrowing journey of Kalinka, a Jewish orphan searching for safety, and the horses that provide her with comfort, power, and hope. Set in 1941 in war-torn Ukraine, Kerr’s novel is also a tale of survival-not only Kalinka’s, but of Przewalski’s horses, a rare breed of wild horse that dates back tens of thousands of years. (Historical Fiction, ages 12-14)
  • Ukrainian folk tales / translated by Marie Halun Bloch, from the original collections of Ivan Rudchenko and Maria Lukiyanenko ; illustrated by J. Huizdovsky.
  • The birds’ gift : a Ukrainian Easter story / retold by Eric A. Kimmel ; illustrated by Katya Krenina. Villagers take in a flock of golden birds nearly frozen by an early snow and are rewarded with beautifully decorated eggs the next spring. (picture book)
  • Ukraine / Alicia Z. Klepeis. A introduction to Ukraine’s history, geography and culture. (ages 7-14).
  • Don’t tell the enemy / Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. Krystia’s family is hiding Jews from the invading Nazis, but the risks are immense. How much will she risk for her friends? A gripping story based on true events. (Historical fiction, ages 10-14.)
  • Ukrainian egg decoration : a holiday tradition / Ann Stalcup. Describes pysanky, the traditional folk craft of decorating Easter eggs as carried on by women in the Ukraine.


The Library has several films available on DVD or through our digital library streaming services (hoopla and Kanopy), which can provide further context on Ukrainian history and the country’s relationship with Russia.

Kanopy has a collection of 17 documentary and narratives films focusing on the Ukraine region including:

  • Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine (2016) This documentary looks at people transformed by a democratic revolution, who give up their normal lives to fight a Russian invasion, in a war which has killed 10,000 and displaced 1.9 million Ukrainians.
  • The Babushkas of Chernobyl (2015) Journey into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone several decades after the world’s worst nuclear disaster in April 1986. The tightly regulated 1,000 square mile Dead Zone remains one of the most radioactively contaminated places on Earth, but is inhabited by a spirited group of elderly women who scratch out an existence in this lethal landscape.
View the full Conflict in Ukraine collection on Kanopy.