Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to Russia. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Russia.
Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about Russia, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Baboushka and the Three Kings to popular sellers like The Wolf Wilder to some of our favorite hidden gems like Swan.
We hope this list of kids books about Russia can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Old Babushka, known throughout all of Moskva for her beautifully painted eggs, is preparing her eggs for the Easter Festival when she takes in an injured goose. She names the goose Rechenka, and they live happily together until one day when Rechenka accidentally overturns a basket, breaking all of Babushka’s lovingly crafted eggs.But the next morning Babushka has a surprise awaiting her in the basket. She cries: “A miracle!” It is one of many in this charmingly told tale of friendship and caring. With vibrant illustrations, Patricia Polacco has joyously re-created the flavor of Old Moscow and its festivals. The eggs, stunningly colored and intricately designed, are authentic reproductions of eggs painted in the Ukrainian style. Rechenka’s Eggs is a timeless story of classic beauty.
When a terrible witch vows to eat her for supper, a little girl escapes with the help of a mirror and comb given to her by the witch’s cat and dog.
Every girl remembers her first trip to the ballet: the anticipation beforehand, the orchestra’s first notes, the ethereal beauty of the ballerinas. This is a tale of one such girl who was caught up in ballet’s mesmerizing spell and became one of the greatest ballerinas of all time.
In a story drawn from her memoirs, Anna Pavlova describes her first visit to the ballet to see the Sleeping Beauty. With simple, childlike language, she captures her love for her mother, the splendor of the ballet, and the moments that changed her life. The words are matched with paintings, pastels, and drawings of the French Impressionist Edgar Degas, to give this story all the magic of a fairytale.
Complete with short biographies of Pavlova and Degas, I Dreamed I Was a Ballerina will delight any child with ballerina dreams.
“Spare, poetic words sit as lightly as snowflakes.”—Wall Street Journal “An enchanting glimpse of a dancer whose name has come to be synonymous with her most famous role.”—School Library Journal, starred review One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.
Flying combat missions in wartime is always dangerous. But imagine doing so in a slow, rickety biplane, at night, with no lights or navigational equipment of any kind. Sound impossible? It wasn’t for the Soviet Night Witches. This unit of incredibly brave women flew hundreds of missions to attack German forces on the front lines during World War II. Learn all about these brave women and how their skill and courage in battle helped defeat the Nazis to win the war.
Baboushka and the Three Kings - A Russian folk tale [adapted by Ruth Robbins] about an old woman who, declining to accompany the Three Kings as they followed the star in search of the Babe and failing to find Him on her own, each year renews her endless search. The strikingly effective pictures are distinctive in design and rich in color. ~~Booklist (Awarded the Caldecott Medal as the Most Distinguished American Picture Book for Children in the year of its publication)
A Royal Ride - Join Catherine the Great on a fun-filled ride as she schemes to invent the roller coaster in this inventive, STEM-based nonfiction picture book! Empress Catherine the Great, Queen of Russia loved her country, especially the snowy winters. Giant ice slides meant daring drops and thrilling rides for all! But every spring, warm weather melted the snow and the slides. What could Catherine the Great do to ensure fun all year round? With some ingenuity and some royal thinking, Catherine the Great would create her greatest invention!
A Symphony of Whales - Glashka is the only one in her village who can hear the voice of Narna, the whale. That gift leads her to great responsibility one day, when she discovers thousands of whales trapped in an inlet. The narrow route to the sea is rapidly icing over, and every day ice covers more of the open water the whales need to breathe. There seems to be no way out. . . . This story, based on an actual event, tells of a dramatic rescue—a tale of bravery and faith and the power of music.
The Wolf Wilder - A girl and the wolves who love her embark on a rescue mission through Russian wilderness in this lyrical tale from the author of the acclaimed Rooftoppers and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms. Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. She loves taking care of the wolves, especially the three who stay at the house because they refuse to leave Feo, even though they’ve already been wilded. But not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her—and learn from her wolves how to survive. From the author of Rooftoppers, which Booklist called “a glorious adventure,” and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, which VOYA called “a treasure of a book,” comes an enchanting novel about love and resilience.
Sadko the musician loved his city of Novgorod, the richest and most free in all Russia. With its great feasts, its white stone churches, its merchant visitors from many lands, Sadko felt there was no better place to be. Yet he was lonely too, for the rich young ladies who danced to his music would never favor anyone so poor.
One night he takes his twelve-string gusli and goes alone to play by the River Volkhov. Suddenly from the water rises the Sea King, who invites the astonished musician to play at his underwater palace. But how will Sadko get there? And how will he get back? And will he want to return at all, when he meets the Sea King’s lovely daughter?
One of the most popular legends of Russia, Sadko’s story is found in medieval epic ballads, as well as in a popular opera by Rimsky-Korsakov. It is retold here in elegant prose, complemented by the entrancing illustrations of a modern Russian master.
Deep in the woods is a little wooden house, with nine neat windows and a red front door. When a little mouse decides it will make the perfect home, so do the other animals in the wood - including a great big bear! But will the bear be able to put everything right when their home comes tumbling down? Find out in this beautifully illustrated retelling of a classic Russian folk tale.
In Russia, right-handedness is demanded—it is the right way. This cultural expectation stifles young Anya’s creativity and artistic spirit as she draws the world around her in secret.
Hiding away from family, teachers, and neighbors, Anya imagines a secret society of famous left-handed artists drawing alongside her. But once her family emigrates from Russia to America, her life becomes less clandestine, and she no longer feels she needs to conceal a piece of her identity.
A retelling of the traditional Russian tale in which a lazy fool catches an enchanted fish which promises him that every wish he ever makes will come true.
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