Breaking Stalin's Nose
One of Horn Book's Best Fiction Books of 2011
Sasha Zaichik has known the laws of the Soviet Young Pioneers since the age of six:
The Young Pioneer is devoted to Comrade Stalin, the Communist Party, and Communism.
A Young Pioneer is a reliable comrade and always acts according to conscience.
A Young Pioneer has a right to criticize shortcomings.
But now that it is finally time
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Sasha is a fervently loyal Stalinist, who is excited to become a part of the Young Pioneers (Stalin's youth organization) and extremely proud of his father, who works for the State Security ...more
Sasha's is the voice of innocent, blind loyalty. Throughout the book he makes statem ...more
Yelchin does a tremendous job of putting the reader in the middle of Stalin's Soviet Union through the eyes of the young narrator. Sasha is on the verge of becoming a Young Pioneer and is bursting with pride. His father is a high official and though the two live in what we would consider poverty, they are considered privileged.
Everything changes when Sasha's father is arrested. The boy's fear and outrage are beautifully described as is the horrors of communism and what ...more
However, when Comrade Zaichik is arrested by people from State Security in the middle the night before Sasha's Young Pioneer ceremony, he suddenly finds himself homeless, an orphan o ...more
A young boy, Sasha, growing up in Moscow during Stalin’s reign yearns to be a young pioneer. He adores Stalin and the life communism has allowed him to have. One night his father is arrested due to report given by a jealous housemate and Sasha sets out to correct things by personally telling Stalin that his father is loyal to the communist cause. Unable to reach Stalin, Sasha decides to go about his day as he normally would and go to school; this day is especially importan ...more
I never felt like I got to know anyone in the book, not Sasha, his father or the people around them. The author basically points out who the bad guys are, who the good guys are and makes ...more
-The idea of a children's book set in the Soviet Union
-Great pencil drawings by the author from interesting perspectives
-Possible educational/discussion tool for readers young and old about conformity, bullying, fear and right vs. wrong
-I'm glad that Yelchin made this novel to "expose and confront that fear [passed on from generation to generation"
-I didn't feel anything while I was reading this book, which baffles me since the subject matter itself is not only interesting, but ...more
In this simple chapter book, a depth of insight is revealed, not only about Russia in the early to mid 1900’s, but insight into all fear-driven societies. And we should never be so arrogant as to think it can’t happe ...more
The only similarities I've got are:
1. The feeling of being unable to trust your neighbors and the need to love the leader are very similar to themes in the children's and teen's books I've read about the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
2. Our young hero has a bit of the charming naivety of John Boyne's (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) and Morris Gleitzman's (Once) protagonists.
Other than that, everything is new. I've never read a book about the Soviet ...more
Her response was "This from a children's book". I think ...more
But something happens along the way. His dad is taken away, but that must be a mistake. Sasha is sure Stalin will come to his father's rescue. Then, Sasha will become a Young Pioneer, with his father looking on proudl ...more
An easy, light read of a profund period in Russian history. Thank you, Eugene Yelchin.
I read this book immediately after reading "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys, another book that takes place during Stalin's reign. I was so moved and affected b ...more
This story follows a little boy named Zaichik, who has idolized Stalin, wants to follow in his father's foot steps and become a Young Pioneer - devoted to Stalin, the Communist Party and Communism. After his father is arrested, by the same government he worked for, he can't seem to decide whether he should continue believing in the Communist government and renounce his father or if he should let this go.
Yelchin has written a fictionalized historical memoir, based on his o ...more
This may be one of those books that becomes a 5 star book for me after time and more reflection.
This might make an excellent read aloud, with students discussing how confusion, fear, and doub ...more