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 board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. 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 Rechenka’s Eggs.
We hope this list of kids books about Russia can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
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. <p/>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. <p/>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. <i>Rechenka’s Eggs </i>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.
“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.
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.
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.
The Blue Bird's Palace - When Natasha makes a selfish choice, she finds herself trapped in a lavish but lonely palace, far from her widowed father. Will she find a way to escape and see her father again? This poignant tale, inspired by Russian folklore, will help start conversations about the importance of family.
Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat -
A cheerful and magical folk tale perfect for celebrating the miracle of Chanukah, now gently adapted for the very young board book reader
Latkes, latkes, good to eat.
Cook me up a Chanukah treat! On the first night of Chanukah Sadie performs a generous act, and in turn receives a magic pan that cooks up sizzling hot, golden latkes on command. When she goes out one afternoon, her mischievous brothers can’t resist using the pan. But what happens when the boys can’t make the pan stop cooking latkes? Celebrate the miracle of Chanukah with this joyful and humorous tale of generosity and greed, gently abridged for the board book reader.
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)
Babushka Baba Yaga - Baba Yaga is a witch famous throughout Russia for eating children, but this Babushka Baba Yaga is a lonely old woman who just wants a grandchild— to love. “Kids will respond to the joyful story of the outsider who gets to join in, and Polacco’s richly patterned paintings of Russian peasant life on the edge of the woods are full of light and color.” — en’s Book
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!
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.
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.
Cuddle up with a classic! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, each book in this ingenious series captures the essence of a literary masterpiece. Simple words, sturdy pages, and a beloved story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning with an erudite twist. Budding bookworms will delight in this clever retelling of the classics made just for them! <p/>Leo Tolstoy’s <em>War and Peace</em> features a dashing <b>soldier</b>, many difficult <b>goodbyes</b>, and the fleeting promise of true <b>love</b>. It’s a first words primer for your literary little one! <p/>The Cozy Classics series is the brainchild of two brothers, both dads, who were thinking of ways to teach words to their very young children. They hit upon the classics as the basis for their infant primers, and the rest, as they say, is history. From Moby Dick to Pride and Prejudice, here are The Great Books of Western Literature for toddlers and their parents in board book form–a little bit serious, a little bit ironic, entirely funny and clever, and always a welcome gift.
The Sea King's Daughter: A Russian Legend - 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.
Rudolf Nureyev: My First Rudolf Nureyev - This board book version of Rudolf Nureyev—from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series—introduces the youngest dreamers to the incredible life of one of the greatest male ballet dancers of all time. Rudolf fell in love with dance as a child. But he was not allowed to go to ballet school until he was 17. There, he had to make up for lost time and hone his skills to compete with the other dancers. As a professional, he dazzled audiences with sensational performances and star power. He went on to become a world-renowned choreographer and master of perfection in dance. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this fascinating dancer and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children. Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!
Endless Steppe - It is June 1941. The Rudomin family has been arrested by the Russians. They are “capitalists - enemies of the people.” Forced from their home and friends in Vilna, Poland, they are herded into crowded cattle cars. They destination: the endless steppe of Siberia.
Deep in the Woods - 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.
Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.