Breaking Stalin's Nose
Sasha can think of nothing but joining the Young Pioneers, a patriotic group that all proud young Communists in the USSR aspire to join, and it is scheduled to happen tomorrow. As Sasha displays his pride in his leader, his country, his government, and his father, who works with State Security, events occur which don't match up with Sasha's beliefs. As accusations fly and innocents are arrested, Sasha begins to question the things he's always believed.
Fun Fact: The author not only illustrated this book (and a number of picture books), but he contributed artwork to the movie Rango and designed the original Coca Cola polar bears.
This is a short book with fast pacing. Its simple sentences belie the injustices occurring all around Sasha, forcing readers to wonder how it is possible to act with integrity when arrests require no evidence and people disappear at the word of a disgruntled neighbor. How can individuals survive a world where truth changes from moment to moment? A powerful book that raises age-appropriate discussions for upper elementary readers about what it means to be free, the role of government, the power of fear, and why people might make dishonest choices in the hope of protecting themselves.
"I should follow him and observe his activities; he might be a spy. It's wise to be suspicious. The enemies are everywhere."
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