For bookclub this month, we read the Eugene Yelchin’s 2011 Newbery honor, Breaking Stalin’s Nose, and traveled back in time to Stalinist Russia.
At the beginning of the book, 10-year-old Sasha Zaichik loves everything about Communism and Comrade Stalin. Sasha desperately wants to be a Young Pioneer and tries hard to do everything that a devoted Communist would do. After his father is arrested and a series of other events that take place at his school, Sasha becomes disillusioned with his hero.
Nothing like a little “light” reading for our bookclub!
We started book club by playing a character name game, trying to guess the character name on our backs.
We then had water and carrots. Yup, water and carrots. (Carrots were such a treat for Sasha. In his words, “I take small bites of the carrot to make it last; the carrot is delicious”)
Full disclosure, we ended book club by making our own ice cream sundaes (with lots of toppings to choose from!). Such a fun American capitalism contrast to the communist carrots!
As we slowly munched on carrots, we talked about the book and all of its ideological concepts: What is communism? Did it work? Does it work? Who was Stalin? What was it like to live in communist Russia?
We then answered questions on slips of paper about the book’s plot, themes, and characters. The boys’ responses were amazing!
All in all, a grim, scary and complicated book that we were all glad we read and another fantastic bookclub in the books!
For more about the book: http://www.eugeneyelchinbooks.com/breakingstalinsnose