A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

Russian / Russia

Sacharnyj rebënok. Istorija devočki iz prošlogo veka, rasskazannaja Stelloj Nudol’skoj
(Sugar Child. A story of a girl from the last century, as told by Stella Nudolskaya)

Gromova, Ol‘ga (text)
Pasternak, Marija (illus.)
Moskva: KompasGid, 2014. – 159 p.
ISBN 978-5-905876-91-2

Soviet Union / 1937 – Stalinism – Political purge – Memory – Historical fiction 

What is it like to become an “enemy of the people” from one day to the next, to be at the mercy of Stalin’s repressive regime – the Great Purge? Stella Nudol’skaya experienced this with her parents in the Soviet Union of the 1930s; she later told her story to author Ol’ga Gromova. From that story Gromova has made a powerful, emotionally sensitive young adult book, in which readers accompany the girl named Elya through her entire rough life. Separated from her father, who is then killed in the Soviet regime, Elya and her mother are deported from Moscow to a work camp in Kyrgyzstan in 1937. There they face debasement by being ostracized, hungering, and suffering. Their life is an odyssey from one work camp to the next, from one unfamiliar surrounding to the next; insecurity and fear their only constant companions. Still, mother and daughter preserve an independent and dignified bearing built on inner strength: They recall their home through storytelling and singing. (Age: 11+)