Books like Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and Jerry Spinnelli’s Milkweed , as well as others, were published much later (yes, I am old) so I really wasn’t exposed to anything so mentally challenging, so eye-opening, until I read Elie Wiesel’s "Night" when I was approximately 20 years old. I am glad to see that in recent decades, the tide is turning and children are exposed to “world history” much earlier in life. I think it helps to open their young minds and get them thinking.
Breaking Stalin's Nose had me from the first chapter. I was expecting a light novel for kids and what I found was an easy to read yet thoroughly thought provoking look at a slice of Russia’s history. The pages are not crammed full of text - there is plenty of white space and many illustrations by the author that both add to the story and help it flow. The story is deep enough to provide a good look at Russia through the eyes of a child during the Stalin years, yet also light enough so that the violence and atrocities are not thrown in the reader's face.
I can definitely see this title being used in classrooms - there are many possible discussion topics.
Great book to recommend to reluctant readers or those interested in world history. It might leave some kids feeling a bit uncomfortable, yet will definitely provide many opportunities for important discussions.