This is a powerful story told in 160 pages. The author grew up in the Soviet Union in the 1960s. This novel is based on Yelchin’s childhood. He reveals how the Young Pioneers were raised to follow Stalin. Children were taught to turn in anyone that was suspicious of not following Stalin’s rules. Families were torn apart. People were shot instead of receiving a trial. Between 1923 and 1953, Stalin’s State Security executed, imprisoned, or exiled over 20 million people.
Breaking Stalin’s Nose takes place over a two-day period in Communist USSR ruled by Stalin. Sasha, a ten-year-old boy, lives in a communal apartment with his father, a Comrade of the State Security. On the eve of becoming a Young Pioneer, the police come and arrest his father. Sasha goes to school the next day expecting to see his father present the students their red scarves. What happens that day changes the way Sasha views Communism and Stalin. The persecution and death of innocent people, for making a choice for what they believe is right, is still happening today in many places around the world. Recommended for 5th -8th graders.