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Breaking Stalin's Nose Hardcover – September 27, 2011
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“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
About the Author
Eugene Yelchin has illustrated several books for children, including Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? and Won Ton. He lives in California with his wife and children.
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More About the Author
In 2012, Breaking Stalin's Nose, a middle grade novel that he had written and illustrated received a Newbery Honor award. Horn Book magazine called Breaking Stalin's Nose one of the Best Books of 2011. In 2010, the picture book Rooster Prince of Breslov that he illustrated received the National Jewish Book Award. In 2006, he received a Tomie de Paola award. His other books received starred reviews, and were on Children's Choice and the Independent Booksellers lists.
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Yelchin's story is frightening and very sad. I felt for Sasha and his father. The various characters in the book make choices in desperate situations.....I felt for all of them. The emotional impact of this story is strong and I thought on this book, these characters and what it all meant for several days. I had my husband read the book so we could talk about it.
Is this book for children? You might ask yourself that after reading the above. Absolutely, YES! This is a book that children should read but parents should read it as well so that the topic can be discussed. Why did Sasha and his father behave as they did? Why did the teacher manipulate the students so badly? What happened to Sasha after the book was over? What happened to Sasha's classmates? And, most importantly, what would I do if I were placed in a situation where doing the right thing was costly for me? Many good conversations can come from reading a book together and this book is a good one to that end.
I highly recommend "Breaking Stalin's Nose".
Written to be accessible to young readers this is a look into the Cold War that just might send readers looking for more. Heavily illustrated and printed in a format that reluctant readers will be also be drawn to. As an adult I can only wonder how anyone survived this time period. Eugene Yelchin won a 2012 Newbery Honor for BREAKING STALIN'S NOSE and I am glad he did otherwise I am not sure I would have read this book. Recommended for middle graders that enjoy historical fiction.
So here's my problem with the book. Our hero is 10 years old. The book is small, with full page illustrations every 8 pages or so, and half page illustrations more frequently. Lots of white space, big print and short chapters. It looks like a book for 4th graders. But it isn't. It is a book for (maybe) 6th graders, most of whom (at my school at least) will turn up their noses at what they see as "too babyish."
Going back to the positive (because I do think it's a good book) I will totally suggest this to older readers who are studying that period in history. I can see an 8th grader who wants to gain an overall sense of that time without reading a "boring" text book passage. This book could be read in 1-2 hours by many readers and I hope I can find a way to partner it with 8th grade or high school readers seeking a non-threatening way to get a feel for one view of the time.
About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: I purchased it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this aloud to 3 of my children (ages 10, 8, 5) as part of our homeschool history study of Stalin. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Nicole Renee
What happens after he waits in line?! Does he ever see his father again? Is the author going to write more? I want to know what happens after!Published 17 days ago by Soli Deo Gloria
I walked away, after reading this book, a thankful human being. Thankful I live in a country where I can be free and have true self-expression. Mr. Read morePublished 19 days ago by C. M. Dixon
Simple transaction, book as described, used for daughter's book report at school.Published 1 month ago by William A. Mains
This is a wonderful realistic fiction. My students learned a bit about history and government while creating a more dynamic perspective on the world around them. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rosalyn
I have to be honest: this is one of the most interesting stories I have read in a long time. The entire car ride home from school, I couldn't help gushing about how fascinating... Read morePublished 3 months ago by The Kid Book Reviewers
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I would recommend this book for people who likes knowing about politics in Russia and what was life like in Russia when Joseph StalinPublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer