In honor of the Olympics starting in Sochi today, I'm celebrating with a few of my favorite Russian books. Here's a few books with a Russian setting, characters or themes that are dear to my heart.
Gennady Spirin's artwork is exquisite. And THE FROG PRINCESS (Patrick A. Lewis) is my favorite Russian folktale.The Russian version is nothing like Grimm's--be prepared to be enchanted.
THREE CHEERS FOR CATHERINE THE GREAT (Cari Best, Giselle Potter) always made my sons roll with laughter. A classic.
BREAKING STALIN'S NOSE (Eugene Yelchin)
Ah, I loved this Newberry Honor Book. Sasha's journey to understand the Party and his father was so moving.This is required reading at my house. My 11 year old son loved it.
THE TURNING (Gloria Whelan)
As a teen, I was fascinated by Russians who chose to defect during the Cold War. I loved this subtle story about a Kirov ballerina trying to decide whether to make a break for freedom on a trip to Paris.
THE LOST CROWN (Sarah Miller)
I love all of Sarah Miller's books, but this is my favorite. She captured the voice and the Russian-ness of the Romanovs so well, that I was surprised to learn Miller doesn't speak Russian. The last sentence is one of the most haunting in YA literature.
SNOW CHILD (Eowyn Ivey)
Can you tell that I have a thing for Russian folklore? This was my favorite adult read of last year. It does not take place in Russia, but in 1920s Alaska. The language is gorgeous. This is one of those books you want to savor, like a cup of strong Russian tea.
To accompany any of these reads, I suggest very strong black tea, sweetened with lemon and sugar or copious spoonfuls of jam (tastier than you would think). Then you too can be a true Russian reader.