Reading Children´s Books in Russia Today

By Kelly Herold
  • Books for Children make up 8-10 percent of Russia’s book market
  • 1 in 5 publishing houses in Russia focus on children’s books
  • Books for preschoolers are most popular

Sorokin also writes that there is a lack of “new names” in the Russian market, especially when it comes to realistic, problem literature and poetry for school-aged children and teens.   In the article, he also discusses non-fiction and comics,  as well as printing costs and location (China) for Russian children’s books.  All in all, an interesting article.

Anglo-American Graphic Novels about the Soviet Space Program

In the past couple of years, two graphic novels–one American and one British–have been published about the Soviet space race.  The first of these, Laika, by Nick Abadzis, was published by First Second in 2007 to great acclaim.  If you haven’t read this one, I highly recommend it.

Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing calls Laika “haunting” and “sweet,” and Betsy Bird of A Fuse #8 Production (and the most well-known children’s book blogger in the U.S.) concludes that Laika, “…is an ode to dogs themselves. To the animals that we befriend and love and, ultimately, destroy. It’s also about history, humanity, and the price of being extraordinary. No one can walk away from this book and not be touched.”

(Don’t miss the comments to the Boing Boing post.  In them, you will find the lyrics to a Polish children’s song about Laika and well as a reference to other artistic works about the first dog in space.) 
Now a new graphic novel has come out in the U.K. (December 2010) commemorating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s space flight.  Titled Yuri’s Day: The Road to the Stars, this graphic novel aimed at a teen and adult audience is attracting some interest in Russia.  Nick Dowson reports for The Moscow Times that Yuri’s Day–written by Piers Bizony, illustrated by Andrew King, and designed by Peter Hodkinson–has been well received and will soon be translated into Russian.  Indeed, the authors of Yuri’s Day are responding to comments and corrections at their website for future editions of the graphic novel and for the Russian translation.  It’s an interesting process, that’s for sure.

Here’s a review of Yuri’s Day: The Road to the Stars by Graham Southorn at Sky at Night Magazine (a BBC site).


Welcome to the Working Group for Study of Russian Children’s Literature and Culture blog. My name is Kelly Herold (Grinnell College, Russian Department) and I am the blog administrator.

On this blog, you will find news about Russian children’s literature and culture, links to reviews, and announcements from the Working Group for Study of Russian Children’s Literature and Culture (WGRCLC).  We will be posting a few times per week, so check back often or put us in your blog reader.

If you are interested in blogging on Russian Children’s Literature and Culture on a regular basis, we welcome your participation.  Posts may be written in Russian or in English.  If you are interested in participating, please send me an e-mail.