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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Breaking Stalin's Nose

After learning that Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Velchin won a Newberry Honor, I wanted to read it with my boys.  

It is a unique book written in short chapters with illustrations, and it takes place over a two-day period from the perspective of a ten-year-old boy living in communist Russia under Stalin. His experiences over this two-day period lead him to question if everything he believes about the Soviet government is a lie:
"We all saw the guards shoving him into the car. They did it the same way--doubling him over and pushing him in--as they had done to my dad last night. Now, squeezed between the guards, Four-Eyes is riding to Lubyanka prison, probably smiling his crazy smile at them. Why did he do it?"
This book opened the door for a flood of questions and discussion, and we talked about the way things were during the Cold War. I think this book is a must-read, and it would be a nice addition to a world history reading list for all ages.