- Age Range: 9 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First edition (September 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805092161
- ISBN-13: 978-0805092165
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 119 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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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".
The sole criticism I would have is that reader is a bit short-changed in that he never reads of what should be the boy's rightful rage at (1) what happens to his father, (2) what has happened to his mother, and (3) the injustice of his becoming a victim himself.
With it all, I highly recommend the book.
I wish the author would publish more books about life under Communism. These lessons need to be read and re-read.