NINA KOSTERINA: A YOUNG COMMUNIST IN STALINIST RUSSIA, authored by Jennifer Phillips, can be used to supplement high school social studies modules and homeschool lesson plans. It has a Lexile text measure of 1070.
The 202-page paperback version (ISBN 1453886370) includes photos provided by Nina’s family. With a suggested retail price of $9.95, the book is available through Amazon.com. Libraries, schools and retailers can place orders through Ingram, Baker and Taylor, and Create Space Direct. The eBook version, which does not include historical photos, is available through www.writewordsinc.com under Young Adult eBooks (PDF, RTF and HTML options) and other eBook retailers such as Amazon and Fictionwise. (ISBN 1-59431-781-
Nina was born in a revolutionary camp as the Bolsheviks took over Russia in 1920s. She beat the odds of survival during the harsh early years and emerged in the 1930s as a young Communist woman in love with her country, her family, her city, her friends, politics, art and life. Even when Joseph Stalin’s regime tore apart her family and imprisoned her father, she remained loyal to her country and joined an elite group of young women turned guerilla soldiers when the Germans invaded Russia in 1941.
Nina perished in a Nazi ambush behind enemy lines. After the war, her family found her diary hidden in a wardrobe. Years later, the diary was released as a book. Written from ages 15 to 20, the diary revealed a teenager transforming into an adult juxtaposed against one of the most dangerous and tumultuous periods in world history.
“I encountered a worn paperback copy of Nina’s diary at a library book sale several years ago,” Phillips said. “I became so entranced with her story and hungry to know more about that period of history. She references people and events that beg for more explanation if you’re not familiar with 1920s and 1930s Russia. I started doing research and ended up wanting to write a biography to provide more context while still having Nina’s voice tell the story through several of her diary entries.
“Nina didn’t see herself as documenting history, but just as an ordinary girl chronicling her daily life. I was very excited to learn that one of her sisters was still alive in Moscow. She and her son, Nina’s nephew, helped provide a lot of information for the book,” Phillips said.
Readers will find a photo page and learning guide, along with details on other biographies and story downloads, at Phillips’ website, www.noseinabookpublishing.com. Phillips is available for classroom discussions (in person within Washington and virtually for other parts of the country) about the biography subject or the process of researching and writing these books.