One of “Horn Book”‘s Best Fiction Books of 2011 Sasha Zaichik has known the laws of the Soviet Young Pioneers since the age of six: “The Young Pioneer is devoted to Comrade Stalin, the Communist Party, and Communism.””A Young Pioneer is a reliable comrade and always acts according to conscience.””A Young Pioneer has a right to criticize shortcomings.”But now that it is finally time to join the Young Pioneers, the day Sasha has awaited for so long, everything seems to go awry. He breaks a classmate’s glasses with a snowball. He accidentally damages a bust of Stalin in the school hallway. And worst of all, his father, the best Communist he knows, was arrested just last night. This moving story of a ten-year-old boy’s world shattering is masterful in its simplicity, powerful in its message, and heartbreaking in its plausibility.
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- Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)