Thirty-five years ago, Ukraine was at peace, at a time when Russia was becoming a freer society during the Glasnost years under Mikhail Gorbachev.  Once Upon a Time in Ukraine shows what this time was like through 200 photos taken by a woman whose paternal grandparents emigrated from the Odesa area and neighboring countries in the early 20th century.

Here are some comments from one Ukrainian-American who found the book very moving and inspiring:

“As a Ukrainian-American born in Kyiv, I found “Once Upon a Time in Ukraine” by Gini Graham Scott to be an insightful visual journey into the heart of Ukraine’s rich history and vibrant culture during the transformative period of glasnost and the perestroika era of the 1980s.

“Through her expressive writing and over 200 captivating photos from her trip to Ukraine, Scott creates a tangible link to the past, allowing readers to travel back in time and experience the country’s unique traditions and landscapes.

“In these challenging times of global uncertainty, “Once Upon a Time in Ukraine” serves as a beautiful tribute to Ukraine’s past and a beacon of hope for its future. An essential read for those yearning to grasp the essence of Ukraine and the spirit of its people.”

Oleksii Chuiko
Director of Operations
ASIYA Shrine Center
San Mateo, CA

The photos in the book feature visits to parks, beaches, markets, city streets, museums of art and industry, and more.  They show people enjoying everyday life all over Kyiv and the surrounding countryside. The photos even show a wedding, as the couple leaves the church surrounded by joyous friends.

The photos were taken by an author with grandparents from the Odesa area. She was on a citizen diplomacy trip in which travelers stayed in the homes of residents, met with government officials, attended a criminal trial, spent a day at the beach with new friends, visited markets, and in many other ways had a close and personal look at life in Ukraine in 1988.  Her account of her travels through Ukraine and other parts of the Soviet Union were originally published as Through the Open Door by New World Publishing in 1989.

This book features never seen before photos, since they were originally slides, shown only in a carousel to friends and family members, and a few were turned into prints displayed on the author’s walls.  All the slides were scanned and turned into JPGs in order to appear in this book.

The book is available on Amazon at 

The author, Gini Graham Scott, PhD, JD, is a nationally known writer, consultant, speaker, and seminar leader, specializing in business and work relationships, professional and personal development, social trends, popular culture, science, crime, and children’s picture books. She has published over 50 books with major publishers and 200 books through her own company, Changemakers Publishing. She has worked with hundreds of clients on memoirs, self-help, business books, and screenplays.

The publisher, J. Michael Publishing, was founded by John Pluff, and it previously published a series of books about a duck who didn’t fly South with his family because he loved the pond so much. As a result, he had to survive a harsh winter by finding shelter and avoiding being eaten by predators. The five-part The Story of Googala Duck tells this story, and a forthcoming series will follow Googala Duck’s adventures the following year in the Everglades.  The company has also expanded into a series of AI-inspired books. These include Ask AI, An Advice Column with Real Advice for Real Problems of Real People with Answers by AI; Ask AI: The Game, A Game of Giving Advice for Real Problems; and The Ethics of AI, a series of questions and answers about AI’s morality and ethics.

Besides writing about ducks, author John Pluff has been writing film scripts and is the owner of a successful building company, the American Building Group. The first script, The Dragon of Locke, is about two detectives who help to solve a case involving the theft of a sacred dragon from a Taoist monastery in China after it is shipped to Stockton, California, while they are trying to find the missing brother-in-law of a local businessman.  The script has recently been entered in 35 international film festivals and has received 27 awards so far. Additional scripts based on the adventures of Dan and Winnie are in the works.

For more information or to set up interviews with author Gini Graham Scott or publisher John Pluff, visit the website at,  You can contact John Pluff at J. Michael Publishing at or call (408) 316-5553.

You can contact the author at (925) 804-6333 or through her website at


Karen Andrews
Media Arts Literary
San Ramon, California