Catalogue


Breaking Stalin's nose /
written and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Henry Holt, 2011.
description
[156] p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
ISBN
0805092161 (hc), 9780805092165 (hc)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Henry Holt, 2011.
isbn
0805092161 (hc)
9780805092165 (hc)
abstract
In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values, and beliefs.
catalogue key
8238792
target audience
Reading level: Ages 9 and up.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
California Book Awards , USA, 2011 : Nominated
Newbery Medal, USA, 2012 : Nominated
First Chapter
Breaking Stalin's Nose
1
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.
The voice on the radio says, "Soviet people, follow our great Leader and Teacher--the beloved Stalin--forward and ever forward to Communism! Stalin is our banner! Stalin is our future! Stalin is our happiness!" Then a song comes on, "A Bright Future Is Open to Us." I know every word, and, singing along, I take out a pencil and paper and start writing.
Dear Comrade stalin,
I want to thank you personally for my happy childhood. I am fortunate to live in the soviet Union, the most democratic and progressive country in the world. I have read how hard the lives of children are in the capitalist countries and I feel pity for all those who do not live in the USSR. They will never see their dreams come true.
My greatest dream has always been to join the Young soviet Pioneers--the most important step in becoming a real Communist like my dad. By the time I was one year old, my dad had taught me the Pioneers greeting. He would say, "Young Pioneer! Ready to fight for the cause of the Communist Party and Comrade stalin?" In response, I would raise my hand in the Pioneers salute.
Of course, I couldn't reply "Always ready!" like the real Pioneers do; I couldn't talk yet. But I'm old enough now and my dream is becoming a reality. Tomorrow at my school's Pioneers rally, I will finally become a Pioneer.
It's not possible to be a true Pioneer without training one's character in the stalinist spirit .
I solemnly promise to make myself strong from physical exercise, to forge my Communist character, and always to be vigilant, because our capitalist enemies are never asleep. I will not rest until I am truly useful to my beloved soviet land and to you personally, dear Comrade stalin. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.
Forever yours, sasha Zaichik, Moscow Elementary chool #37
When I imagine Comrade Stalin reading my letter, I get so excited that I can't sit still. I rise up and march like a Pioneer around the room, then head to the kitchen to wait for my dad.
Copyright © 2011 by Eugene Yelchin
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2011-08-01:
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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"The cat-and-mouse chase that pits Sasha's whole world against him will rivet middle-grade readers, but this title will hold special appeal for older students whose grasp of content outstrips their reading proficiency." -- BCCB "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." -- Publishers Weekly "...this brief novel gets at the heart of a society that asks its citizens, even its children, to report on relatives and friends. Appropriately menacing illustrations by first-time novelist Yelchin add a sinister tone." -- Horn Book, starred review "Yelchin's graphite illustrations are an effective complement to his prose, which unfurls in Sasha's steady, first-person voice, and together they tell an important tale." -- Kirkus "Velchin skillfully combines narrative with dramatic black-and-white illustrations to tell the story of life in the Soviet Union under Stalin." -- SLJ
"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." -- Publishers Weekly "...this brief novel gets at the heart of a society that asks its citizens, even its children, to report on relatives and friends. Appropriately menacing illustrations by first-time novelist Yelchin add a sinister tone." -- Horn Book, starred review "Yelchin's graphite illustrations are an effective complement to his prose, which unfurls in Sasha's steady, first-person voice, and together they tell an important tale." -- Kirkus "Velchin skillfully combines narrative with dramatic black-and-white illustrations to tell the story of life in the Soviet Union under Stalin." -- SLJ
"Mr. Yelchin has compressed into two days of events an entire epoch, giving young readers a glimpse of the precariousness of life in a capricious yet ever-watchful totalitarian state." Wall Street Journal "A miracle of brevity, this affecting novel zeroes in on two days and one boy to personalize Stalin's killing machine of the '30s. ...black-and-white drawings march across the pages to juxtapose hope and fear, truth and tyranny, small moments and historical forces, innocence and evil. This Newbery Honor book offers timeless lessons about dictatorship, disillusionment and personal choice." -- San Francisco Chronicle "The cat-and-mouse chase that pits Sasha's whole world against him will rivet middle-grade readers, but this title will hold special appeal for older students whose grasp of content outstrips their reading proficiency." -- BCCB "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." -- Publishers Weekly "...this brief novel gets at the heart of a society that asks its citizens, even its children, to report on relatives and friends. Appropriately menacing illustrations by first-time novelist Yelchin add a sinister tone." -- Horn Book, starred review "Yelchin's graphite illustrations are an effective complement to his prose, which unfurls in Sasha's steady, first-person voice, and together they tell an important tale." -- Kirkus "Yelchin skillfully combines narrative with dramatic black-and-white illustrations to tell the story of life in the Soviet Union under Stalin." -- SLJ
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, August 2011
School Library Journal, August 2011
Horn Book Magazine, September 2011
Booklist, October 2011
Wall Street Journal, October 2011
Kirkus Reviews, November 2011
Horn Book Guide, January 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
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.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
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.
Library of Congress Summary
In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values, and beliefs.
Main Description
Lavishly illustrated, this moving story of a young boy's world unraveling is masterful in its simplicity, powerful in its message, and heartbreaking in its plausibility. 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.

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