The Ticket To Childhood

Nga Pham introduces you her list of favourite books.

The Ticket To Childhood

When I was a kid, my dad used to buy a lot of fairy tales and children books for me to read. When I have grown up, I somehow still keep those books and do not hesitate to reread them whenever I have free time. I love children literature because to me adult books are definitely not for children, but children books, on the other hand, don’t select readers, they are just for everyone at any age.

And even though children books often are criticized because of childishness and simplicity, there are several books that even adults can’t understand sometimes. You may be too familiar with famous non-Russian books from around the world, like “The Little Prince”, “Peter Pan”, “Alice in Wonderland”, and so on. But if you are curious to know which Russian books that children often read, here is a list of the most popular books that I recommend.

The Wizard of the Emerald City (Alexander Volkov)

You might ask if this is a translation of the story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, which is so popular with children around the world. It is true that in fact, both stories have very little difference (although they are significant), “The Wizard of the Emerald City” has been completely rewritten for Russian readers. An interesting fact about this story is that Russian readers most likely don't know “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, but they certainly know “The Wizard of the Emerald City”. A friend of mine said that Russian children adore this story and that she is no exception, because as a child she loved the book so much that she used it to tell stories to her toys.

The Adventures of Dunno and His Friends (Nikolay Nosov)

The book revolves around the independent life and relationships of tiny girls and boys in Kite City and other fictional cities: they know how to do adult-only jobs such as fixing cars, drawing, making a hot air balloon, writing poetry, treating medically, and so on. Of these little kids, Dunno is a boy most famous for his mischievous and quirky thoughts. Interesting, humorous and witty, this simple book for all ages, especially those with a rich imagination should not skip.

Alice: The Girl from Earth (Kir Bulychev)

While the above two books are intended for children from 6 years old, this one is intended for older children. As a modern version of “Alice in Wonderland”, the book is about a girl who travels to different planets with her father to build a space zoo. One of the book's most interesting details is the time machine and through it the story is not merely adventures to the galaxy, but also journeys into the past, to places, even more, there are creatures that seem to exist only in fairy tales.

The Adventures of Dennis (Victor Dragunsky)

This is a rather interesting option, the whole story is about an eight-year-old boy in Moscow in the late 1950s and 1960s. This is exactly a collection of short stories, some of them based on real stories and the author's son is also considered as the prototype of the main character. The collection of stories is special because they show a variety of tones such as poetry, satirical, and emotional. Although the stories are about daily life, they are very humorous and touching, because they are all that can be imagined about the rich psychology of Russian children.

You can find all books in English here:

The Wizard of the Emerald City:

Alice: The Girl from Earth:   

The Adventures of Dunno and His Friends:

The Adventures of Dennis:


Text by
Nga Pham