Thursday, March 01, 2012

Breaking Stalin's Nose (MG)

Breaking Stalin's Nose. Eugene Yelchin. 2011. Henry Holt. 160 pages.

My Dad is a hero and a Communist and, more than anything, I want to be like him. I can never be like Comrade Stalin, of course. He's our great Leader and Teacher. 

Sasha Zaichik, the young hero of Eugene Yelchin's historical novel, Breaking Stalin's Nose, makes quite an impression. When readers first meet him, he's confident--perhaps over-confident that communism is the best thing that ever, ever happened to Russia. He worships his father and Stalin. When readers first meet him, he's so thrilled to be on the verge of joining the Young Pioneers. But the night before the ceremony, the night before his big opportunity, his father is arrested. It seems their neighbors have turned him in. Just minutes after the arrest, they take advantage of the situation and move into his rooms, Sasha Zaichik is forced onto the streets. But even his father's arrest can't thoroughly shake his belief that Stalin is a good man, that his father is a good man, that there has been a great misunderstanding, that a day--or two, at most--will right all wrongs. But is that the case? The novel follows Sasha for just two days, but in those two days, everything seems to change.

I would definitely recommend this one! The story is definitely compelling. And the illustrations complemented the text well. I think they definitely added to this novel for young readers. It was refreshing to see historical fiction set in a different time and place. While I've read more than a few novels (for this age group) about the Cold War--from the American perspective--I've hardly read anything at all set in Russia during this time period--after World War II.

Read Breaking Stalin's Nose
  • If you enjoy historical novels for children
  • If you enjoy coming-of-age stories
  • If you want to read this year's Newbery Honor Book

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Gilion at Rose City Reader 6:36 PM  

I didn't really know there was a genre of historical novels for children. It makes sense! It seems things have changed since I was a young reader.

Thanks for including this one too in the European Reading Challenge!

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