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How children’s books thrived under Stalin

When Stalin’s great purges made writing dangerous, a group of avant garde artists turned their attention to children’s books. Philip Pullman on a new collection that reveals a vigorous freedom in a time of repression.

Partly because of such collaborations, and partly because children’s books provided a hiding place for a while, the early Soviet period was a miraculously rich time for children’s books and their illustration. A new book, Inside the Rainbow: Russian Children’s Literature 1920-1935 offers a glimpse into that astonishing world. The designer, Julian Rothenstein, and the writer of an essay in the book, Olga Budashevskaya, have produced something truly remarkable. Brilliant primary colours, simple geometrical shapes

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