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“Poems by Sergei Mikhalkov, like a mother’s lullaby” – can our children today fall in love with the Soviet classic?

Date: March 31, 2023 Time: 09:23:07

One of the most beloved books for many generations by Sergei Mikhalkov – “Uncle Tea”

Photo: Mikhail FROLOV

Children born after 2010 to the present are called the Alpha generation. Around you a lot of information and gadgets. They are involved in the world of technology, making decisions almost at lightning speeds.

This year marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Mikhalkov. Great poet, playwright and author of two hymns. We know his poems by heart, or at least we recognize them among a thousand: and he warmly remembers his childhood. But is the work of Sergei Vladimirovich relevant for the growing “alpha”? The answer was sought during a discussion started by the Chitay-Gorod book network.

“Read-Gorod” started a discussion about the compatibility of the Alpha generation and the work of Sergei Mikhalkov.

Photo: Andrey ABRAMOV


“The Alpha generation is a challenge for modern parents,” says Margarita Litovskaya, a researcher in the theory of generations. – We have to show children that books are something great and that they don’t lose with gadgets. It becomes more difficult for authors who worked before the digitization era to win the competition. If you give a child a book from your childhood and say: “Look how cool!”, they will not believe the word. Kids of the Alpha generation review everything, an authoritative opinion is not enough for them. They want to get your experience and conclude: is the content in front of them really healthy?

With us it was different: you were limited to a list of school literature and a library. Now there is a lot of information, and children can independently choose what they want to read. Kids choose faster: Google research shows that young people read information and determine whether or not they like the content within eight seconds. And a book has a more complex content than Tik-Tok”.


“Ten years ago I was in the fifth grade and they immediately considered me an authority. Now I am in the fifth grade, and these are children who ask a lot of questions, – shared the teacher of the highest category of Russian language and literature, Larisa Arachashvili. – They themselves do not like to do anything, they do not know how to make efforts. Most stumble and quit if something difficult is in front of them. But they read books.

Teacher of the highest category of Russian language and literature Larisa Arachashvili.

Photo: Andrey ABRAMOV

If Mikhalkov was talked about more at school, the children would read it. Mikhalkov is very light. Now the school curriculum consists of letters written by adults for adults. Fet and Tyutchev are wonderful. But for fifth grade, it’s hard. But Mikhalkov is not in the elementary school program. Although I think they would like these things. Mikhalkov knew how to enter into a dialogue with a reading child. And we give children what they are not able to master. I think the point is not the irrelevance of Mikhalkov, but the fact that PR decides everything. If Mikhalkov had been included in the program, he would have sounded in the media, he would have received a new wave of popularity. Reading Mikhalkov’s poems with children is fun. I read it to my schoolchildren, they laughed out loud.

Now kids read comics avidly and I don’t see anything wrong with that. The main thing is that the “stuffing” is correct in order to preserve universal human values. Spider-Man lives in modern realities. And Uncle Styopa is a policeman. Even the name of his profession is not clear to the children. But this does not mean that everything old should be excluded. The role of adults is to broaden the child’s horizon of knowledge and give him a choice. “Uncle Styopa” and classical literature in general is a cultural code. It’s important to keep it.”


“Children do not read Mikhalkov in the fifth grade, because their pants have already fallen off,” Olga Muravyova, deputy head of the editorial work department of AST and personal editor of Sergei Mikhalkov for 24 years, opposes in the discussion. The children have grown and become smarter. Marshak, Mikhalkov and Chukovsky were read to us at the age of 4-5 years. Today they are read at the age of two and children perceive them. The poems are transparent, euphonious, with understandable rhymes. “Uncle Styopa” – the same for the smallest. In elementary school, it is no longer suitable for children. In elementary school, you need to read Mikhalkov’s prose and fables, more complex works. Pushkin’s fairy tales do not suit modern children. And Mikhalkov is like a song, like a mother’s lullaby.

Olga Muravieva was Sergei Mikhalkov’s personal editor for 24 years.

Photo: Andrey ABRAMOV


“Marshak, Chukovsky, Barto and Mikhalkov are good because they are not in the school curriculum. Because they are read from the heart by parents to children from the age of two. Children at this age need such verses – simple and kind. If we give “Uncle Styopa” in the fifth grade, then maybe by the tenth grade we will get to “The Tale of Tsar Saltan.” There is no need to cram everything into the school curriculum and there is no way,” says science fiction writer Vadim Panov.


“We understand the importance of having Mikhalkov’s books on the shelves,” says Olga Olyushina, head of the PR department of the Chitay-gorod bookstore chain. – Interest in him is not reduced. Last year, 26 thousand Mikhalkov books were sold in our network. On the eve of the 110th anniversary, we ask ourselves, who buys the writer’s books today? What is the audience? We found out that Mikhalkov is perceived as something mandatory. Parents come for a children’s book, and first of all they go to the shelf with Mikhalkov. And his children are looking for comics about superheroes and Holly Webb (a popular contemporary children’s author from the UK-Ed.). Parents think that the child reads for the sake of pictures, and the kind and eternal face of Mikhalkov passes by. However, having resolved the situation with our parents, we realized that modern foreign children’s books are also about good and eternal, only in a different format.

Olga Olyushina, head of the PR department of the Chitay-gorod bookstore chain.

Photo: Andrey ABRAMOV

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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