Spy Runner

Yelchin, Eugene. Spy Runner. New York: GodwinBooks, Henry Holt and Company, 2019.
In 1953 America, 12-year-old Jake is keeping his eyes open for Russian spies. His father has been missing in action since the end of the war in 1945, so when his mother invites a mysterious boarder into their home, he is suspicious. Why do the stories about his father not make sense? Why is his mother so affectionate toward this new man? Why is his principal so afraid of two strange men who visit the school? What is going on? This dramatic page-turner – evoking all the secrecy and paranoia of the Cold War – will appeal to curious readers 11 years old and up. 

More historical fiction

More novels by Eugene Yelchin:

Yelchin, Eugene. Arcady’s Goal. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2014.

“When twelve-year-old Arcady is sent to a children’s home after his parents are declared enemies of the state in Soviet Russia, soccer becomes a way to secure extra rations, respect, and protection but it may also be his way out if he can believe in and love another person–and himself.” – CIP. Recommended for readers 11-years-old and up. [Communism; Foster children; Russia; Soccer]

Yelchin, Eugene. Breaking Stalin’s Nose. New York: Henry Holt, 2011.
This novel, a Newbery Honor book, tells the story of ten-year-old Sasha who adores his father who works for the secret police in Stalinist Russia. But his perspective changes when he discovers secrets about his deceased mother and his father is unexpectedly arrested, leaving Sasha homeless in the middle of winter.  While easy to read, this powerful story is best suited for brave readers aged eleven and up. [Communism; Fathers and sons; Homelessness; Russia; Secrets] 

Yelchin, Eugene. The Haunting of Falcon House. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2016. 

“In 1891, twelve-year-old Lev Lvov travels to Saint Petersburg, Russia, to assume his duties as Prince, but must first use his special gift to rid the House of Lions of a ghost.” – CIP. Written by Prince Lev Lvov with pictures drawn in his own hand; translated by Eugene Yelchin who writes in the preface, “when I was a schoolboy in St. Petersburg, Russia,…I came upon a bundle of paper held together with frayed twine….Some years passed….Resolved to faithfully restore Lvov’s original narration, I set to work. To carry Prince Lev’s feelings across to the reader, I became inwardly connected to the young prince…” A spell-binding story for readers 11 to 14 years old. [Aunts; Extrasensory perception; Haunted houses; Orphans; Princes]

A story of kindness

Spirin, Gennady. Martha. New York: Philomel Books, 2005.
This is the story of an injured bird who was rescued by a young boy on a cold snowy day. She could have died but instead she was given a home. And one day she was ready to fly again. The beautiful flow of the sentences in this story and the exquisite watercolour illustrations create a sense of timelessness. A sense that the story happened in the past but is still living on in the memories of the people who rescued the bird that could not fly.
This true story set in Moscow tells how Martha the crow became part of the author’s family for a brief time long ago. Highly recommended as a book to buy for animal lovers of all ages. 

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

More picture book memoirs HERE

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson