Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Picture Books About Modern Russia

Do Your Children Want to Know More About Russia?

It’s a wonderful thing about major international sports events that the country hosting this event can literally come to our living rooms through TV and computer screens and show off. As a person who grew up in the former Soviet Union, I was watching the opening of Sochi Winter Games with the feeling of pride and nostalgia. I left Soviet Union in the times of total economic collapse, but my childhood in the 70s was a lot like the scene for postwar Russia presented during the opening ceremony  – becoming a Pioneer, getting excellent education, choosing my path as an engineer, and enjoying museums, theaters, circus performances, and other cultural events my city had to offer.

I am hoping that many adults now are looking for age appropriate picture books for young children describing modern Russia. Unfortunately, so far I was able to find only two books with young characters who really represent Russia I knew and still love.

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A Month in Moscow

Annie... Anya: A Month in Moscow

Annie… Anya: A Month in Moscow is an older book that we were lucky to receive as a gift from friends. It was published in 1992, “chaotic times” for the country going through a painful breakup, but you wouldn’t know it from this book. A main character is a 5 year old American girl who comes with her doctor parents for a stay in Moscow. She comes to a Russian daycare the same way many “English learners” come to American schools – terrified, lonely and not knowing a word of Russian. This book is about overcoming differences, trusting new friends and learning new things. I highly recommend looking for it in your library system. One word of warning – this picture book is “word-heavy” and might be better suited for children 5+.

Russian Culture for Children

Sasha and Babushka

Sasha and Babushka is a newer book written by Cornelia Evans, published in 2006. We purchased it last year when I was looking desperately for a book about modern Russia. It fits my requirements perfectly. A main character in this book is 6 years old and comes with her Babushka (Grandmother) to Moscow as a special trip for her birthday. Illustrations by Vladimir Shpitalnik bring you to a colorful modern city and introduce you to famous Moscow puppet theater. An obvious extension for this book is to have your own puppet play, and that’s exactly what we did when we read this book for the first time.

More Resources About Russia for Kids

  • Please visit my Pinterest board of Russia and Russian Language for activities and resources that can teach children more about Russia.

Your Turn

What would you like to know about life in modern Russia or in the former Soviet Union? I will be happy to answer any questions asked in the comments and/or pin your resources to my Pinterest board.

I am sharing my post at these link parties and share days.


maryanne @ mama smiles said...

How wonderful to have your childhood accurately portrayed for the Olympics! We haven't watched any of the Olympics, yet, but I want to find the opening ceremonies, because we always enjoy watching them (and we will watch some of the sports, as well).

Gayle@GIFTFamilyServices said...

This is a wonderful resource for adoptive families!

Carrie said...

What a great group of books. We will have to check them out. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!