Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin is this year’s Michigan Library Association Mitten Award winner!
Breaking Stalin’s Nose is the story of 10-year-old Sasha Zaichek, living with his father in the USSR under Stalin’s communist rule. He has spent his whole life waiting for the day when he will become a Soviet Young Pioneer, but then his father is arrested and everything Sasha has known and believed in begins to unravel.
This book is an excellent springboard for informing children of all ages about world history and Communist governments in a format and style that directly appeals to them. Through humor and straightforward prose the reader can begin to understand what life as a child may have been like.
The Mitten Award Honor books this year are:
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City. There he meets Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.
Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
Award-winning artist Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America–the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
The Mitten Award is designed “to recognize and promote quality literature for youth, ages 0-12, and the ability to communicate to that audience through literature.” The award was established in 1999 by the Children’s Services Division of the Michigan Library Association.