Ode to The Lost Russian Book

For many of us who were kids in the 80’s, the mere mention of Russian books instantly brings a light into our eyes.

As a part of Soviet propaganda they were made available all over India, touching the lives of many children growing up in the 80’s. The books were highly subsidised and inexpensive with hardcover books being no more than a couple of rupees. They were translated not only into English but also into the many regional languages of India.

Reading them we were instantly transported into a rosy Russia. Mishka, Natasha and Yuri were familiar names. Baba Yaga was known to many of us. The jewelled colours of Russian folk art coloured our imaginations, as did the turrets of Moscow.

Even now, in many second hand bookstores around India, you will chance upon some of these books. This is becoming much rarer though. Up until 5 years ago, booksellers selling their wares on footpaths still had many of these Russian titles but not so much any more. Russian books in India are getting harder to find.

Re- reading these books of my childhood makes me marvel at how well the Soviets made their books for children. The illustrations are absolutely stunning, ranging from decorative Russian folk art to more minimalist graphics. The content of the books too are of good quality.

All in all, the books demonstrate respect for the children who read them.

In fact, some of the non-fiction titles we have in the library are used year in and out by the children at school for referencing!

Bringing the Russian books of the 80’s to the children of today, makes the child that I once was, sing.

A Ticket To Ride - Nikolai Osipov (Raduga Publishers)

A Ticket To Ride – Nikolai Osipov (Raduga Publishers) Illustrating seed dispersal via animals

How People Discovered The Shape Of The earth - Anatoly Tomilin (Raduga Press)

How People Discovered The Shape Of The earth – Anatoly Tomilin (Raduga Publishers) Illustrating the Indian view of the world. The world being an enormous tortoise floating in a sea of milk, with 4 elephants on the turtles back that raised the round, flat earth on their mighty backs

How people Discovered The Shape of the Earth - Anatoly Tomilin

How people Discovered The Shape of the Earth – Anatoly Tomilin (Raduga Publishers) Illustrating the ruler of the Maldives Islands and his beloved and lucrative Seychelles Palm

Barankin's Fantasy World - Valery Medvedev (Raduga Publishers)

Barankin’s Fantasy World – Valery Medvedev (Raduga Publishers)

Barankin’s Fantasy World – Valery Medvedev (Raduga Publishers)

Barankin’s Fantasy World – Valery Medvedev (Raduga Publishers)

A Ticket To Ride - Nikolai Osipov (Raduga Publishers)

A Ticket To Ride – Nikolai Osipov (Raduga Publishers)

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Ode to The Lost Russian Book

  1. so true i still treasure those books and was lucky enough to find a few (before maya was born!) which i kept for her! been keenly looking for more ever since but no luck!

     

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s