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Anastasia’s Album: The Last Tsar’s Youngest Daughter Tells Her Own Story Hugh Brewster Hyperion

30th November 2011 History Books 13 Comments

Designed to resemble a scrapbook, this striking, profusely illustrated volume presents a sympathetic and affecting portrait of the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last Romanov ruler (see Children’s Books, Oct. 7). Brewster juxtaposes remarkably pristine period photos (some artfully hand-colored by Anastasia) with Christopher’s carefully composed shots of the palaces the family inhabited and of several family possessions: a doll, a Faberge egg, a Red Cross uniform worn by one of Anastasia’s sisters. His prose is equally atmospheric: Anastasia at three is “a blue-eyed whirlwind.” Well-chosen excerpts from Anastasia’s own correspondence and from memoirs by Romanov friends and staff heighten Anastasia’s very real presence in these pages. This immediacy renders the sudden end to the siblings’ carefree youth, and eventually the Romanovs’ violent deaths in Siberia in 1918, all the more tragic and haunting. Ages 7-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Grade 6 Up-It would be difficult to find a more engaging portrait of the Romanovs. Black-and-white photographs from family albums are complemented by exquisite contemporary photographs of restored palaces. In addition, there is an articulate text and a generous use of quotes from letters and diaries written by family members or their close friends. The focus is on the youngest daughter and her story. Although a few references are made to historical events and the hardships of the Russian people during the first two decades of the 20th century, the book concentrates on presenting an intimate portrait of the last ruling family of the aristocracy. It succeeds very well. Readers looking for photographs of a broader spectrum of Russian society toward the end of the empire may wish to consult Mikhail P. Iroshinkov’s Before the Revolution: St. Petersburg in Photographs: 1890-1914 (Abrams, 1992).
Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

An award-winning author uses Anastasia’s own photos, watercolors, letters, and diaries, long hidden in Russian archives, to reveal an engaging portrait of Russia’s last princess, her family, and their difficult exile in Siberia after the Russian revolution.

Anastasia’s Album: The Last Tsar’s Youngest Daughter Tells Her Own Story

Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov

Kids who may have learned about the Grand Duchess Anastasia from the animated movie will get a more accurate version of her life here. This slim entry in the Queens and Princesses series does its best to set the story of the Russian royal family against the simmering world affairs of the time, though many readers may not quite understand why Czar Nicholas II left the throne. That said, this attractive offering, with plenty of oversize, full-page photographs, will give them a glimpse of what life was like for Anastasia, both the glitter and glamour of the imperial Romanov household, as well as in the more familar aspects of family life: interacting with siblings, studying, and sewing. The photos, depicting both sides of Anastasias life, are set against textured pages and are particularly well reproduced, making it likely readers will linger. This book could be used as a gateway to others covering different aspects of world history. Glossary and ideas for other information are appended. Grades 4-6. –Ilene Cooper

Fame, fortune, and glamour, whats more fascinating than the world of royalty? These biographies present the lives of popular queens and princesses. Pictures and first-hand quotations bring you closer than ever to the women behind the crown.

Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov (Snap Books: Queens and Princesses)

  • 13 responses to "Anastasia’s Album: The Last Tsar’s Youngest Daughter Tells Her Own Story Hugh Brewster Hyperion"

  • David Tawil
    12:55 on November 30th, 2011
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    I absolutely love this book.It’s chock full of interesting info.I had to get a biography for school.I wasn’t looking forward to it.Most biographies are boring.I saw this one in the library and thought ‘what the heck.Never hurts to try’.I love this book.Once you start reading it,you can’t stop.Good work.

  • cjinsd
    19:30 on November 30th, 2011
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    The pictures were great, and the book gave me a clear and truthful look inside Anastasia’s life. Anyone who is interested in the Romanov family should read it. I’d guarantee the kids will be glued to it until the finished the last page.

  • PaulTheZombie
    20:38 on November 30th, 2011
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    It’s a nice book, with excerpts of letters, and many photographs; although geared towards children, I at sixteen found it adorable. Although when you look at it, it’s sad–how an innocent girl, caught up in politics, was shot. It’s a nice look into the “eyes” of Anastasia, and I bet ‘Shvyzbik’ would be pleased.

  • Ripel
    22:31 on November 30th, 2011
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    It was the best Anastasia book I’ve read! I loved all the pictures and all the information! AWESOME BOOK!!!!

  • joequits
    11:02 on December 1st, 2011
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    Since I’m writing a research paper, this was such a useful source for me to use. I loved the pictures and the information. It had so much of it! I was amazed; blown away. This is an amazing book for both kids and adults and I hope you get something out of it too!

  • John Baxter
    13:57 on December 1st, 2011
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    I remember this book from when I was a kid, after the ‘Anastasia’ movie came out my friend had this book, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It’s full of beautiful photos and pictures the Grand Duchess drew herself. It seems really heartbreaking now that all she got to leave was her scrapbook.

  • David Tawil
    3:39 on December 2nd, 2011
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    I am a teacher of social studies as well as a lover of Czarist Russian history. I thought the book was very well presented and interesting for both teachers and students.

  • Dagmar Naguin
    13:58 on December 2nd, 2011
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    The first time I found this book at the public library I just barely seen Fox’s movie Anastasia for the first time. Surprised to find out that Anastasia was a real person, I checked out the book expecting it to be similar to most biographies.

    Boy was I wrong. This book absolutely blew me away. Anastasia’s album is a wonderful look into the life of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last tsar of Imperial Russia. Imagine my surprise to find out that Fox’s movie was nothing like Anastasia’s real life, although many of the costumes and sets came from real items. Full of pictures, this book also included bits from Anastasia’s real diary. A remarkable biography about a remarkable girl.

  • webdiva
    23:29 on December 2nd, 2011
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    I loved this book. I did wish it was longer, with more pictures.
    Also more quotes from Anastasia herself, not just the author’s

  • RattyUK
    10:57 on December 3rd, 2011
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    This is an excellent book about Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Russia’s last tsar. As many know, Anastasia was murdered with her entire family in 1918. This book tells Anastasia’s story through her own words. Her letters reflect a happy, secure young girl who came from a loving family. It shows readers a world that is gone and will never return. Though it was written for young children, all ages with enjoy “Anastasia’s Album!”

  • TrafficWarden
    11:21 on December 3rd, 2011
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    Anastasia was a Romanov princess, a title that held much privilege in Russia. The family was from Kostroma. Her very handsome father was Tsar Nicholas II and her mother was Tsarina Alexandra. She also had three sisters and a sickly hemophiliac brother named Alexi. They owned seven palaces and even had an imperial train, but perhaps her father didn’t want to spoil them because they “slept on hard cots without pillows.”

    Anastasia was a tomboy and her mother called her “the imp.” She was very smart and was good at learning languages, but like many children, didn’t want to study and would much rather stay outside. Now that was always one of her favorite things. She was born in 1901 and by the time she was seventeen there were major shifts in Russia. Her father had to go to the Russian front and there was great turmoil in the country. Her father “resigned,” but that wasn’t enough and they were soon under house arrest. Many people know about Anastasia, but was she murdered or was Anna Anderson, a woman who stepped forward many years later to claim she was the princess, the real item? It was a mystery that took more than seventy years to solve!

    This slim book is a bare bones biography of one of the most beloved and mysterious princesses in history. This book will be sure to spark an interest in historical figures and unsolved mysteries. Inside there are many family portraits of Anastasia and her family, including the infamous one of them on the roof of a greenhouse in their Siberian exile. In the back of the book there is a glossary, an index and recommended book and internet sites. This is one of seven in the Queens and Princesses’ series.

  • The Dealer
    18:28 on December 3rd, 2011
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    Beautifully and honestly presented, “Anastasia’s Album” tells the story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicolaievna Romanova. It offers a delightful glimpse of life in Imperial Russia, before and during its collapse, enhanced by photographs from the Romanov family albums and quotes from the family’s letters and diaries. “Anastasia’s Album” covers Anastasia’s life from birth up to the family’s imprisonment. It very tastefully tells of the family’s tragic end and also has an epilogue that addresses the Anna Anderson controversy and subsequent films, setting the reader straight on the historical truth.

    One of the greatest things about “Anastasia’s Album” is how children absolutely love it! I teach elementary school, and the book has been a favorite among my students every year. It has turned several of my students on to history, and many of them did their own Russian history research after starting with “Anastasia’s Album.”

    In all, this is a fantastic book, and Shelley Tanaka did the world a great service in writing it! “Anastasia’s Album” should be in every school library and is a must-read for history buffs of all ages.

  • Julia Lynch
    16:57 on December 4th, 2011
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    I know that this is a children’s book, but I think it is also an interesting book for adults. It includes many photos of Anastasia’s family.

    What I find is special about this book, is that it describes the world that the Tsar’s children grew up in. The children had it all: their parents loved their five children, and Tsar Nicholas was able to give them all they wanted. Anastasia and her siblings were not confronted with the injustice that took place outside the palace walls.

    The revolution changed it all though, and it is sad to see the photos and read the story of how their lives ended.

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