When Breaking Stalin’s Nose was released in 2012 Matt and I both read it. I was uncertain how I felt about the story. I wasn’t sure how I would help readers understand what was happening. I wondered how I would build context. I wasn’t sure I could. Matt said he thought it was important for kids to read so they’d know how different growing up could be depending on when and where you lived.
Fast forward ten years to 2021 when Eugene Yelchin’s memoir for children was released, The Genius Under the Table. As I read about Yevgeny’s life in the USSR, I couldn’t help but reflect again on how important understanding different growing up stories can be. Eugene Yelchin has created a video sharing his ideas and questions about what it means to be an artist, an author and a teller of stories. I think his words and images are important to hear and see. The link is found here: About Eugene Yelchin. Please take the time to view it.
In between the reading of these two books, I also read, and was moved by Arcady’s Goal. It is a fictional story that shares the character’s dream of using a special talent as a way to open up the world of possibility and reduce the strain caused by anxiety and want.
Just as Matt said so many years ago, these books are important. In writing this post I learned about several other Yelchin books I have yet to read. I am looking forward to reading and learning through them. I’m also wondering how looking to the past can help us understand our current world.