Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: Tell Me A Story, Babushka by Carola Schmidt

It's time for another dive into a historical read. Saturday's review of Vasilisa took a fairy tale with it as it went back into history, whereas today's read takes history and allows Babushka to tell it like a fairy tale. 
Curious? Then, let's take a peek!

by Carola Schmidt
Illustrated by Vinicius Melo
Picture Book
27 pages
ages 4 to 11

When Karina asks Babushka to tell her a story about a princess and monsters, Babushka surprises her granddaughter, and even herself, telling a story about her life in Ukraine and how she had to run away to another country during the Holodomor. This folktale about memories and family is a sweet story about immigration and how history brought us to where we live today.

Find it here:

Also found on:



With the love and tenderness of a grandma telling her grandchild a tale, this book teaches a bit about history and awakens empathy for those at that time.

Karina watches her Babushka knead dough and asks her to tell her a fairy tale about princesses and monsters. The tale follows a little girl as her village is raided by monsters, and she's taken captive with many other children. But there is more to the tale than Karina first knows.

I'm always thrilled to take a dive into the history and culture of other countries, especially when it hits upon a little known event. This tale addresses Ukraine during 1932-1933 and the Holodomor, a man-made famine which killed millions. The monsters in this tale are the Russian soldiers as they invaded the villages and took many captive. It's not an easy topic, and I was surprised to have something like this hit the pages of a picture book, but the author handled the theme with wonderful care.

The illustrations are well done and change style along with the atmosphere and emotions. Karina and the little girl in the story are portrayed with an ample amount of cuteness to keep things light. I enjoyed these quite a bit.

As to the text, this is a bit of a longer tale and suitable more for first graders and up. It does rotate around a very serious event, and it's clear from the illustrations that the monsters are soldiers, although these are kept more as silhouettes. Still, sensitive readers might find it too much. Also, the text does include several terms, which young listeners will not recognize unless the reader takes the time to explain what is happening. In other words, this book is best used in connection with the topic of Ukraine and the region.

For anyone wanting to expose young readers to this interesting and sad part of Ukrainian history, this book is well worth grabbing up.

And here she is...

Carola Schmidt is a pediatric oncology pharmacist, scientific writer and children’s book writer.

Author of several books in pediatric oncology published by Springer Nature. Her scientific books are present in lists such as BookAuthority’s Best Pharmacy Books of All Time, Best New Pharmacy Books and Best New Pharmacy eBooks, and Springer Highlights 2020. Author of several kids’ books about cancer, such as Bald is Beautiful: A letter for a fabulous girl, Cancer Daily Life, Chubby’s Tale: The true story of a teddy bear who beat cancer (listed by BookAuthority as one of the “81 Best Leukemia Books of All Time”.) Belonging is a subject that is present in her writing, and the two books in the Babushka Series are her first books that are not about cancer. 

Media links:




No comments: