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by Nina Kossman

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-13494-7
Publisher: HarperCollins

In 13 self-contained vignettes, a spirited narrator, Nina, illuminates for readers the life of a young Jew in Moscow in the 1960s. Nina's father, permitted to travel ``behind the border'' (out of the Soviet Union) to visit family in England, brings back not only material proof of a different world but also the spirit of life beyond the boundary of Russia. He listens clandestinely to reports on the BBC so he will know the truth as the world sees it rather than the truth that the Politburo wishes him to know. Nina's behavior and observations reflect her parents' expanded awareness. She can be dangerously open, asking a sailor if he can take her to Turkey so she can retrieve her lost beachball. But she can also be guarded; she keeps her hand down when her teacher asks for a count of Jews in the class. ``I didn't know what all this was about. I just knew that there was something embarrassing about being a Jew: it was being different from everyone else.'' Young readers will identify readily with the impetuous Nina. (Nonfiction. 8+)

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