Imperialist Russia

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco

The Blessing Cup, by Patricia Polacco, is a wonderful story for anytime, but especially during the holidays when family gathers close for this is a family story. Patricia Polacco’s great-grandmother Anna and her family came to America from Russia after the Czar ordered all the Jews to leave the country. Just like that, they had to leave behind everything they couldn’t carry. Momma and Papa packed the sewing machine, their menorah, the shofar, his tallis, and holy books. But also precious to them was the tea set they were given when they were married.

Tchaikovsky: His Life and Times

By Wilson Strutte

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Whether he cared to admit it or not, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a hypochondriac, a manic-depressive and a man who, until only a few months before his death, was quite unable to come to terms with his own nature. He was also, quite clearly, a genius: one of the greatest composers ever to have lived, and an artist whose music conveys the very spirit of 19th-century Russia.

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The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar

“…I know what happened that horrible night the Romanovs were murdered.”

Robert Alexander’s The Kitchen Boy begins in sorrowful searching as young Kate tries to unravel the mysteries lying in her grandparents’ past. Before taking his own life, wealthy Grandfather Misha made a tape recording revealing some of what happened during the Tsar’s last days at The House of Special Purpose. Misha explains that he was the kitchen boy--a lowly yet trusted servant--who experienced the royal family’s many kindnesses during their final time of terror and imprisonment. And, he confesses, he had a part in their downfall.

Angel on the Square

By Gloria Whelan

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In the fall of 1914, safe behind palace walls, Katya Ivanova sees St. Petersburg as a magical place. The daughter of a lady-in-waiting to the Empress, Katya spends all her time with the Grand Duchesses; the royal family feels like her own. But outside the palace, a terrible war is sweeping through Europe, and Russia is beginning to crumble under the weight of a growing revolution. Now, as Katya's once-certain future begins to dissolve, she must seek to understand what is happening to her beloved country and, for the first time in her life, take charge of her own destiny.

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When the Chickens Went on Strike: A Rosh Hashanah Tale

By Erica Silverman

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A Jewish boy living in long ago Russia learns a lesson from the village chickens during Rosh Hashanah. Not a stand-alone book for explaining Rosh Hashanah, but a fun addition for holiday reading.

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On the Reading Road with Gloria Whelan

Her books take readers to Michigan's deep woods, the dusty streets of India, Chinese fishing boats, and on an Alaskan dog sled trail. And those are only the stories set in today's world.

She has also written books set in revolutionary Russia, on the 1880s American frontier, 1918 British East Africa, and along the Underground Railroad. All of these journeys she writes for us begin with another story--a true one--of a little girl who was very sick.