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Russia for Kids

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With all the focus on Russia in the store lately, I couldn’t help but recall some of my favorite children’s books that take place in Russia. Reading about other countries and cultures is always a fun and easy way to expand a child’s mind. From folktales to biographies, I’ve compiled a short list of some great reads for any age.

Eloise in Moscow Cover Image
By Kay Thompson, Hilary Knight (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780689832116
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - March 1st, 2000

Originally released during the height of the Cold War in 1959, this classic is now available again!  Eloise visits all the major landmarks of Russia while exploring a very communist Russia – before the fall of the Berlin Wall, before Russian democracy, before glasnost.  The author and illustrator traveled to Russia for three weeks when researching for the book.  Eloise brings her classic mischief and charm, while reporting in striking black and white illustration.  A fascinating addition to any library.

Babushka Baba Yaga Cover Image
ISBN: 9780698116337
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Puffin Books - January 25th, 1999

The great Patricia Polacco lends her masterful hand to this Russian tale.  Baba Yaga may be a witch, but she longs to join in with the other babushkas loving their little grandchildren.  Determined to share the love she longs to give, Baba Yaga goes undercover in the village.  Polacco’s trademark illustrations and direct prose captivate young readers in a story that shows you never know where love may come from --- and how prejudice can be the least effective way to protect each other.

The Old Genie Hottabych Cover Image
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9781589635456
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Fredonia Books (NL) - October 1st, 2001

I hate to recommend anything out of print, but some books are worth talking about.  A genie in the Soviet Union may sound absurd, but that’s precisely what makes this book worth tracking down.  See what happens when one ordinary Russian boy suddenly finds himself with a genie.  The boy, Volka, soon finds himself dealing with the “gin-e’”, overanxious to help him impress his “comrades”.  An interesting and revealing read for adults that speaks volumes about life in the USSR.

The Night Journey Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142403228
Availability: Backordered
Published: Puffin Books - March 17th, 2005

This tale is passed from generation to generation.  While thirteen-year old Rachel dreads her time with great grandmother at first, she soon becomes caught up in stories of an old world Russia and a time where Jewish people were not treated so kindly.  Relive the courage and excitement of one brave girl in this multigenerational tale that speaks to parents and children alike.

Catherine the Great (A Wicked History) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780531207383
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Franklin Watts - August 7th, 2009

From the wonderful series WICKED HISTORY comes a biography about one of Russia’s most famous faces.  While “despot” may be tagged across the cover, this biography of Catherine the Great addresses her originally good intentions as well as the murder of her husband.  Illustrations and maps help flesh out the facts for today’s readers and keep kids involved.  Far from boring, this biography is a great pick for fans of the WHO WAS series.

The Gigantic Turnip Cover Image
ISBN: 9781905236589
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 7 - 14 business days
Published: Barefoot Books - October 1st, 2005

This Russian folktale is perfect for toddlers.  Originally published in the 19th century by Tolstoy, today’s version comes with modern illustrations and engaging text.  Read along as the whole farm works together in an attempt to dislodge the larger than life turnip.

The Littlest Matryoshka Cover Image
By Corinne Bliss, Kathryn Brown (Illustrator)
Currently Unavailable
ISBN: 9780786801534
Availability: Special Order
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 1st, 1999

Learn all about the history of Russian nesting dolls in this adventure tale.  Made in Russia with love and care, the matryoshkas make it safely across the sea to America only to find trouble!  When the littlest doll becomes separated from her sister dolls, a perilous journey begins – will she ever make it back to her sisters?  Aided by an American girl who adopts the other dolls, children will delight in this story of about reuniting with our loved ones.