Books play an important role in the growth and founding of children. The books they are immersed in and the characters they follow through can become like friends to them. It is also good for them to understand that books are a reliable source of information and that good reading skills are beneficial for success in their future careers. Reading also helps them with their levels of confidence, coping with feelings, and learning and language.
As stated above, children’s books are important and hold a lot of merits for a couple of reasons as well as play a vital role in the success of the growing process.
Soviet Children Books
Often times, the stories told about early Soviet children’s books focuses more on their political deeds, as propaganda that was meant to instill young minds with revolutionary ideas. In the early Soviet years, a lot of authors and illustrators were reinforced by the revolutionary spirit in the Soviet children’s literature and began to work at the centuries-old task of forming young minds through fun stories and vivid illustrations.
However, there are also books which combine older sequences of Russian culture with Soviet and vanguard ideas and do not exactly fit the general narrative about Soviet children’s books. Instead, they preserve the work of the somehow overlooked characters behind a story by adding new color and profundity to the idea that Soviet children’s books were a right combination of propaganda and art.
The more you rummage through a library looking into Soviet children’s literature, the more you will find outliers doing really extraordinary things and doing it in an unconventional way. In this article, I have rounded up a list of books of Soviet children. So, here are playful books of early Soviet children.
- Uncle Styopa (Dyadya Stepa) by Sergey Mikhalkov
It tells the story about Uncle Styopa, the protagonist in threads of Soviet children’s poems written by Russian poet, Sergey Mikhalkov. The main character whose complete name is Stepan Stepanov is an exceptionally tall officer of Soviet militia. He does good virtues of various kinds such as putting down fires, stopping the train from crashing, and confronting a school bully and defending the victim. The superhero image that Uncle Styopa portrays was so popular back in the Soviet era to the point that the stories were once adapted as cartoons.
- Kolka and Lenin by Ivan Nikanorovich
The story starts off with Kolka glaring out of his window at the trains gone by. He looks at the cities which he knows have houses the size of factories and streetcars that can withstand any weather. He wonders, who is to thank for all this? The book he reads tells him that Lenin is the good old man who led Russia to victory.
One night, as if staged by magic, Kolka happens to meet the good old man who introduces him to the world or more specifically, the superb Soviet railway system. However, in a dark turn of events, he realizes that it was all just a dream. When he wakes up from his sleep and reads the newspaper, the headline read “Lenin Is Dead”. So, all the imaginary rail travel he experienced the night before was for nothing.
- Two Captains by Veniamin Kaverin
It tells the story of Sanya Grigoriev the hero. He is a young boy who resides in a small rural area. When he hits the age of eight, he finds a lost bag seemingly owned by a postman. The postman, unfortunately, had drowned and all the envelopes inside the bag had become wet and all the addresses had washed out. In the hope to figure out the addresses, Sanya asks his neighbor to read all the letters aloud to just anyone willing to listen. From one of those drenched letters, Sanya manages to learn about a lost Arctic expedition, an event that would ultimately change his life.
- Subbotnik by Mikhail Isaakovich Ruderman
The two most common themes of early Soviet children’s books are probably realism and reader involvement. None of those is more apparent than in this book. This book runs with the seemingly shallow theme of locomotive work. However, it can make the reader an active companion in the establishment of communism. By the end of the story, the protagonist who is depicted as a faceless child is given the direct orders from the boss who needs extra help to unload the potatoes. For every completed work, the reader will be rewarded with making it home on time to a dinner table full of potatoes.
- Vitya Maleev at School and at Home by Nikolay Nosov
The book was written back in 1951 by the acclaimed Soviet children’s book’s writer, Nikolay Nosov. It tells a story of a boy’s alteration from an underachiever into an A+ student. The plain plot, in fact, was aligned with the catastrophic circumstances in Soviet schools caused by WWII and the saddening fact that a lot of children missed up to six grades of school. This inspiring and humorous book was aimed to become some sort of a self-help book for struggling students in Russia.
- Timur and His Squad by Arkady Gaidar
There is no other book that can surpass the impact made this book. It tells the story of a good gang led by Timur the young hero. The story starts off with a Zhenya, the 13-year-old daughter of the Red Army Colonel who spends the summer holiday together with her older sister Olga at the family’s dacha. There, Zhenya meets Timur, a courageous and noble leader of a mysterious gang whose purpose is to secretly help minors, seniors, and families of the Red Army officers and soldiers.
So, those are some playful books of early Soviet children you can enjoy at home. Hopefully, this article will be useful.