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Breaking Stalin's Nose
by Eugene Yelchin


Overview -

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 to join the Young Pioneers, the day Sasha has awaited for so long, everything seems to go awry.  Read more...


 
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More About Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin
 
 
 
Overview

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 to join the Young Pioneers, the day Sasha has awaited for so long, everything seems to go awry. He breaks a classmate's glasses with a snowball. He accidentally damages a bust of Stalin in the school hallway. And worst of all, his father, the best Communist he knows, was arrested just last night.

This moving story of a ten-year-old boy's world shattering is masterful in its simplicity, powerful in its message, and heartbreaking in its plausibility.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780805092165
  • ISBN-10: 0805092161
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
  • Publish Date: September 2011
  • Page Count: 160
  • Reading Level: Ages 9-12


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Historical - Europe

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-08-01
  • Reviewer: Staff

Picture book author/illustrator Yelchin (Won Ton) makes an impressive middle-grade debut with this compact novel about a devoted young Communist in Stalin-era Russia, illustrated with dramatically lit spot art. Ten-year-old Sasha lives with his father, a State Security secret policeman whom he worships (almost as much as he worships Stalin), and 46 others in a communal apartment. The story opens on the eve of the fulfillment of Sasha's dream—to become a Young Soviet Pioneer—and traces the downward spiral of the following 24 hours, as he resists his growing understanding that his beloved Communist state is far from ideal. Through Sasha's fresh and optimistic voice, Yelchin powerfully renders an atmosphere of fear that forces false confessions, even among schoolchildren, and encourages neighbors and family members to betray one another without evidence. Readers will quickly pick up on the dichotomy between Sasha's ardent beliefs and the reality of life under Stalinism, and be glad for his ultimate disillusion, even as they worry for his future. An author's note concisely presents the chilling historical background and personal connection that underlie the story. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)

 
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