Saturday, January 7, 2012

Breaking Stalin's Nose

Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin shows the life of one boy in Communist Russia. Sasha Zaichik is anxious to join the Soviet Young Pioneers and has known his rules since he was very young. However, on the day when his dream is to be realized things don't go at all as planned. The night before Sasha's father is arrested, and when a string of events happen at school that cause the students to point fingers of blame at each other it is obvious that Sasha's world - everything he believed in-isn't as wonderful as he once thought.

While this book is about Stalin era Russia, something I am interested in, I am not sure my elementary students would have enough background knowledge to understand the idea of Communism and the way in which it failed Sasha. Accompanying illustrations help tell the story, a fast read, and the first I have encountered written for tween readers.

1 comment:

Eugene Yelchin said...

Dear Tina,

Thank you for reading my book Breaking Stalin's Nose. Personally, I am happy that our kids have little or no prior knowledge as to what happened in Russia under Stalin. I wrote the book in order to convey a feeling as to what it might be like living under the oppressive regime, not necessarily stalinism. That feeling is unfortunately all too familiar to me as I grew up in the USSR. Two things that might help your students making the book relevant: I created a website that makes Sasha's world come alive, and a comprehensive studying guide for the middle grade teachers that opens up a book at many different levels. I'd be happy to send the guide to you if you are interested. Once again, thank you for reading the book and for taking the time to write about it on your blog.


Eugene Yelchin