War has come to the idyllic town of Rondo. Can three gentle but brave friends stop War's destruction and save their beloved home?
Danko, Zirka, and Fabian live peacefully in the small town of Rondo, a magical and joyful place where even the flowers sing! Everything is perfect … until the fateful day that War arrives. Having never experienced War, the inhabitants don’t know what to do. They try to talk to it and fight it, but nothing seems to stop the spread of War’s destruction and darkness. Harnessing the power of light, community, and song, Danko, Zirka, and Fabian, along with all their neighbors, must rally together to lead Rondo to victory.
How War Changed Rondo reflects the darkness and pain that conflict bring and the wounds that linger long after it’s over. This picture book serves as a tribute to peace, resistance, and hope, and was written and illustrated by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, a husband-and-wife duo from Ukraine.
★ A Kirkus Best Book of 2021: A Best Picture Book for Starting Conversations ★
★ "The universal story deftly highlights the importance of each person doing their part to battle darkness. The descriptive, lyrical text realistically depicts the impacts of war, and the visual juxtaposition of an imaginative, bright, colorful world and its war-ravaged aftermath is stark. Collage elements convey fragility and resilience in surprising yet visceral ways... An expertly crafted story recognizing the power of humanity amid the life-altering tragedy of war." —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
★ “This is an amazing book... The illustrations are stark, symbolic and imaginative. The text slowly walks us through how War comes to the small and idyllic town of Rondo. Three friends ([representing] growth, light, and love) find a way to combat the darkness and survive the war, but each are scarred in important and devastating ways. It’s hard to watch and hard to read, but the book has so many possibilities… The themes and symbolism are fascinating, and the message is beautiful. [For] anyone who is interested in thinking about human nature, war, why we do the things we do, how we recover from devastation, and general philosophical ideals.“ —STARRED REVIEW, Pam WattsFlavin (Robbins Library, Arlington, MA), Youth Services Book Review
“Hold on to this radical idea: ‘The truth is that even the smallest ray of light will begin to disperse the darkness.’ Three friends, Danko, Fabian, and Zirka, love the town Rondo, which they call home. It is an idyllic place, famous for its greenhouse and the singing flowers that grow inside… Mixed-media illustrations are neatly situated across the pages like diagrams and maps, giving this fantastical, allegorical story a calm sensibility. Then War comes, and the pages turn dark as Rondo’s beauty is damaged. There is no explanation for the war, nor are culprits or reasons named, although an angry fist and recognizable war machinery give War a distinctly human aura. The three friends manage to save Rondo by uniting their unique skills, and despite some irreparable damage, peace is restored. This beautiful book has many layers for adults to unpack with young readers.” —Booklist
“How War Changed Rondo, a picture book by the Ukrainian artists Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, captures the unrelenting destructiveness of wartime as a young person experiences it… Romanyshyn and Lesiv deploy a charming combination of drawing and collage, pasting in diagrams from botany textbooks and old newspapers. There is a fragility to the arrangement, which looks scattered on the page, and a fragility to their three main characters, [who] love their idyllic town and its most famous feature: flowers that sing. War obliterates all, seeding a thicket that blots out the sun… The book’s pages, shaded soft green and mustard yellow at first, turn the color of bruises, obsidian black and purplish gray. Danko, Fabian and Zirka dodge cutout bombs and tanks. Light must then defeat the dark… Rondo returns, but its famous multicolored flowers have been replaced by red poppies... It speaks so precisely to the perspective of a young person who has experienced the confusion of war.” —New York Times