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Breaking Stalin's Nose

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  6,977 Ratings  ·  1,086 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published September 11th 2011)
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Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Danna and Riley for history class.
I thought this was amazing. I could really feel the place, it was eerie. The illustrations matched the mood entirely. This was a very thoughtful work. The story was NOT run-of-the-mill. Very original and fast-paced. This book is sophisticated enough for adults, and simple enough for children (who are ready for this subject matter). I was really blown away by this. I highly recommend it for pretty much anyone.
Inhabiting Books
This book flew invisibly past my radar. I hadn't heard of it or even seen it until I read that it won the Newbery Honor. Obviously, I had to rectify that, so when my latest batch of books came from the library yesterday, full of this year's award winners, I wanted to read this one first.

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
Larnacouer  de SH

Baskıcı bir toplumda haliyle bastırılmış duygular içinde boğuşan bir çocuğun dünyasını okuyoruz Stalin'in Burnunu Kırmak kitabında. Gerçekten 100 sayfa içine tüm dönem sığdırılmış, kelimeler yüreğinize işleyecek kadar özenle yazılmış. İllüstrasyonlar kendine hayran bıraktıracak kadar özel ve güzeller.

Yalnız Newbery Onur Ödülü ve Yılın En İyi Çocuk Kitabı ünvanını alan kitaplar arasındaymış Stalin'in Burnunu Kırmak, iyiki kitaba küçükken denk gelmemişim.
Öyle ya bu eşek kadar halimle
Yelchin's debut novel examines life in Stalinist Russia through the eyes of Sasha, a young boy who idolizes Stalin. He believes the lies and half truths he has been told and rationalizes anomalies that don't fit his vision of Stalin's glorious leadership until the night before he is to join the Young Pioneers, the night his father is betrayed and arrested, the night he begins to see the painful truth about his father, his friends, and his idol. The explicit theme is shared by a substitute teache ...more
Sevgi Ülker
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Keramet bakan gözde değil, gören gözde" sözünün kanıtlanmış hali gibi bir kitap.

Bir çocuğun gözünden o dönemi okumak, yaşadıklarını hissetmek, her bir cümlesinin altındaki anlamı görmek oldukça etkileyiciydi.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sasha wants nothing more than to be a member of the Young Soviet Pioneers. Sasha's father works for Stalin's State Security--secret police--and Sasha wants to be just like him. Stalin himself pinned the order of the Red Banner on his Sasha's father's chest and called him "an iron broom purging the vermin from our midst." If only Sasha understood exactly what that statement meant, and who was counted as "vermin".

Sasha's is the voice of innocent, blind loyalty. Throughout the book he makes statem
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book reminded me of Morris Gleitzman's Once, in that both main characters are boys who are very naive about the political situations in their countries. In Gleitzman's book it's the Nazis in WWII Poland; in Yelchin's book it's Stalin's Russia. Young Sasha considers himself a loyal supporter of Stalin and a good Communist like his father. On the eve of being inducted into the Young Pioneers, everything changes when his father is arrested. Suddenly he is alone, forced to look at everything ar ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
My daughter, an elementary media specialist, read this book before me and in her review she wondered how the students would react to this book as it depicts a piece of history about which they will probably know little to nothing. I do agree with her. The cover is enticing, but I don't know that elementary students will get the book at all. However, I think this is a curriculum connection for teachers and a really good read aloud. Discussion to enlighten students about the history of the story a ...more
Edward Sullivan
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great story about a young boy's disillusionment with Stalin's violently oppressive regime in the Soviet Union. The age group this book is written for will need historical context to fully appreciate the story but it is well-suited for reading aloud and group discussion. In an afterward, the author discusses his own experience growing up in the Soviet Union.
A young boy that believes the lies of stalin. Sad that this was the life of so many people!
Alex Baugh
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
More than anything, Sasha Zaichik, 10, wants to become a Young Pioneer in Stalin's Soviet Union and a good Communist like his dad. Comrade Zaichik, who works for the State Security or secret police capturing enemies of the state, is a true Communist hero, even receiving a medal personally pinned on by Stalin himself.

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
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sasha has spent his whole life waiting for the day he can become a Young Pioneer. As a good Communist, he wants to follow in his father's footsteps; joining the Young Pioneers is the first step. Yet, the night before his ceremony, Sasha's father, the best Communist he knows, is arrested. At school, his day gets worse, as he breaks the nose off of a bust of Stalin. Over these two days in Sasha's life, we as readers experience not only the prejudicial and paranoid actions of "good Communists" but ...more
This fast-paced story follows 10-year-old Sasha Zaichik during a pivotal two day period of his life. The book opens with Sasha writing a letter to his beloved Comrade Stalin, expressing his joy at his upcoming acceptance into the ranks of the Soviet Young Pioneers. But after his father is arrested, Sasha’s eyes are gradually opened to the fact that things aren’t right in his world.

The first person narrative allows us to share in Sasha’s experiences: the optimism and hope he finds in Communism,
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
The good:

-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"

The bad:

-I didn't feel anything while I was reading this book, which baffles me since the subject matter itself is not only interesting, but
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was a very quick read and when I say quick I mean the author barely gives anyone, reader and characters alike a chance to breath. Taking place over a period of two days, Sasha's life if torn apart when his father is arrested and everything he knew about the world he grew up in is called into question.

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
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic read.
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
Abby Johnson
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I honestly really liked it much more than I thought I would. This quick-paced portrait of a starry-eyed boy in Communist Russia drew me in from the first page and I devoured almost the entire book over my lunch break. But I wonder about audience? It seems to me that a child would need a great deal of background information about the Communists to get a lot out of this book. I can definitely see why the Newbery Committee honored it as distinguished - I've never read anything like it and I think i ...more
Steve Shilstone
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This fast paced fictional 1st person present tense narrative presented in efficient short crisp sentences illustrates the terrible poisonous atmosphere of day to day existence in Stalinist Russia. Also beautifully illustrated by the author.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
There is a lot from this book that just stays with you... what a window into a world a knew very little about.

This may be one of those books that becomes a 5 star book for me after time and more reflection.
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
"(W)hen we blindly believe in someone else's idea of what is right or wrong for us as individuals, sooner or later our refusal to make our own choices could lead to the collapse of the entire political system. An entire country. The world, even."

—Mr. Luzhko, Breaking Stalin's Nose, P. 112

Wow. This is an absolutely incredible book, far beyond what I expected from it even with the respected Newbery Honor emblem on the cover. Breaking Stalin's Nose is a dizzyingly rapid descent into two days of
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Jacob earned this book from the LQ library summer reading program in 2015. We read this book for cc2 wk18. I really enjoyed the way the author explained how it was to live in communist USSR under Stalin's reign. I would recommend this book and perhaps read it again. The kids were surprised to learn how things were. Read this book in 1 day :)..krb 4/21/17
Barb Middleton
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
What happens when people refuse to make choices? When they let the government decide what's right and wrong? When they blindly follow rules? When they are taught to not think for themselves or disagree? This story explores through the eyes of a child, Sasha Zaichik, what happens in Russia when Stalin comes to power and the people embrace Communism.

Sasha is devoted to Stalin and wants more than anything to be a Young Pioneer, an organization that 10-year-olds are asked by the State to join. He ne
Jun 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Breaking Stalin’s Nose is an interesting read. Originally I thought the title was a metaphor. Upon reading the book I discovered that although the title does serve as a metaphor as well, it is actually a description of the pivotal incident of the story.

Ten-year-old Sasha Zaichik is a patriotic citizen of the Soviet Republic under Josef Stalin, who ruled from 1923-1953. Stalin’s propaganda–especially with young boys–was overwhelming in its portrayal of Stalin as a benevolent, protective father fi
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Between Shades of Grey" by Ruta Sepetys is one of my favorite reads of the past year or so. I loved that it taught the reader about an aspect of the World II era that most know little about. At the same time that Hitler was executing millions in Eastern Europe, Stalin was responsible for the deaths of approximately 20 million individuals in Russia. "Breaking Stalin's Nose," a Newbery Honor book by Eugene Velchin, looks at this time in Russian history. Velchin, having been raised in Russia by a ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In Breaking Stalin’s Nose (2011), author Eugene Yelchin takes readers into the suspicious world of Joseph Stalin’s Russia, where neighbors turn in neighbors, teachers turn in students and even family turns in other family members. The story is told from the perspective of 10 year old Sasha Zaichik who is a devoted communist and is on the eve of achieving his lifelong dream, to become a member of the communist youth group, the Young Pioneers. His devotion to Stalin and the communist ideals are ch ...more
Karen Henspeter
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
o Your full name: Karen Henspeter

o APA citation: Yelchin, E. (2012). Breaking stalin’s nose. New York, NY: Henry Holt.

o Genre: Historical fiction

o Format: Print

o Selection process:
Top 10 historical fiction for youth. (2012). Booklist, 108(16), 74.

o Review:
Young Sasha Zaichik, whose American mother died and whose Soviet father works as a Communist spy during the Cold War period, wants to be a Young Pioneer more than anything else. He admires his father deeply and idolizes Stalin, believing th
Tara Crump
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Breaking Stalin’s Nose
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
Ann Wang
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Once in a blue moon, I read a book that takes my breath away. I read (in one sitting) one such children’s historical fiction recently – Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin. I first knew Yelchin as a talented illustrator, so was glad to see his drawings illuminate his story here.

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
Kelly Hager
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Sasha Zaichik lives in Communist Russia during Stalin's regime. He's hoping to be a Young Pioneer and the day before his ceremony, his father---one of the best Communists of all!---is arrested and dragged off in the night by police. Sasha knows it's a mistake but at the same time, how can the police make mistakes? Everyone knows that if you're arrested you did SOMETHING. So he tries not to think about it. But then things start falling apart for him, too. He's supposed to carry the banner during ...more
Jackg Red
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 6-th-grade-shelf

A young boy that is known by Zachik is in the Stalin era in Moscow. This book is a very easy quick read, but has blown away many readers with its story. Zachik thinks that communism is the best type of country there is and that a capitalist country is full of poor unwanted people that want to harm the soviet union. He doesn’t know our perspective though, and that he’s being lied to. He is obsessed with Stalin and warships him more than anybody in the world. He’s about to become a pioneer, but t
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