Children's Literature: Soviet Union--Themes

Figure 1.--This publication, "Pioneriia" (Pioneering) was for younger readers to show how proper Young Pioneers behaved in school and at home. The author was risunki V. Gessnera . I think the illustrator was N. Gol'der. It was published sometime between 1925 and 1935. Note that one boy wears kneesocks and the other long stockings.

Soviet books and periodicals targetting children reflected the importance given to molding future Soviet citizens and Communist Party members. Books often dealt with the Young Pioneers, to which virtually all Soviet children belonged, and school. The dignity of labor and the glories of the Soviet Union were other popular themes. Publications proselytized the Communist Party through illustrated articles, children's stories and photography. An accordion booklet for younger children, Pioneria, as early as 1925 showed Young Pioneers at school and playing. [McGill] Others important themes were industrialization and the dinity of labor. Heroic struggles, esspecially the Revolution and the titantic fight against the NAZIs were also popular themes. Children's books sometimes dealt with the role children played in these struggles. A great debate in Soviet children's literature was the approprateness and value of fantasy and fairy tales. Official attitudes here chanhed over time. [Hellman] As a result these themes were much less common in Soviet children's literature than Western children's literature.


Hellman, Ben. Children's Books in Soviet Russia: From October Revolution 1917 to Perestroika 1986.

McGill University, Rare Books and Special Collections Division. "Children's books of the early Soviet era," 1999.


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Created: October 4, 2002
Last updated: October 4, 2002