The Raven’s Children by Yulia Yakovleva
Yulia Yakovleva was inspired by her own family’s experiences to write this children’s book about the trauma suffered by Soviet citizens under Stalin’s repressive regime.
The hero of this story is seven-year-old Shura. Shura’s parents are accused of being ‘enemies of the people’ and are abducted and imprisoned by the Raven and his cronies. Shunned by others, Shura becomes an outcast, invisible, yet precariously vulnerable. The Ravens are on the hunt and Shura is soon captured and thrown into a workhouse for children. Disturbing experiences are presented in a nonconfronting way, drawing on magical realism to step gently through the story – but there is also hope.
Highly recommended for readers who’ve enjoyed John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or Zana Fraillon’s The Bone Sparrow.