Saw this book on the new-books-for-kids table at the local library, and it looked unusual enough that I picked it up and checked it out. The story covers 2 days in the life of Sasha Zaichik, a boy who lives in Russia sometime during the Stalin era.
Far too little attention has been paid–by academics, the film industry, and the media in general–to the crimes committed in the name of Communism. Claire Berlinski, in her post a hidden history of evil, notes the astonishing lack on interest in copies of secret Kremlin archives that have been smuggled out of Russia. “I offer them free of charge to the most influential newspapers and journals in the world, but nobody wants to print them,” says one former Soviet dissident. “Editors shrug indifferently: So what? Who cares?”
So I applaud Eugene Velchin for writing this book, Henry Holt & Co for publishing it, and the American Library Association for giving it a Newberry Honor award.
Sasha is 10 years old, devoted to Communism and to his father, who works as an official of the secret police. He has finally reached the age at which he is eligible to become a member of the Young Pioneers, and is looking forward to the ceremony at which he will receive the red scarf signifying his membership in this organization.
Then his father is arrested…
A quick and gripping read, with illustrations by the author.
Yelchin has a synopsis of the book, with background information and photos, on his website. Link here.