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Tsiolkovsky sliding on ice

“Nastya and Nikita” publish entertaining and educational books for children, books that tell stories about Russian people and places. One book features the town of Kaluga, where our new project to give school books to migrant children is running. It tells the story of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who is a local hero…

“Who was Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky? Was he only the humble teacher from Kaluga who set townsfolk laughing with his eccentricities, someone who liked to go ice-skating with the aid of an umbrella, who cut all the neighbourhood kids’ hair for them on his front porch and launched their kites for them?

Tsiolkovsky book cover

This was all true, but the main thing is that he was a scientific genius. More than a hundred years ago, he invented the rocket, which opened humanity’s path to the stars; he imagined how people would live in outer space, how they would feed themselves and replenish their supplies of water and air; he figured out how to prevent the surface of a spaceship from burning up in the rays of the sun.

Today, almost all of his ideas and calculations have been put into practice. The unique fate and the extraordinary personality of this self-taught scientific genius, a man ahead of his time, comes vividly to life in this book.”

Star gazing

Tsiolkovsky: The Path to the Stars is a biography for children. It tells how, as a child, he suffered from scarlet fever which left him mostly deaf. He couldn’t go to regular schools, which is why he was largely self-taught.

Today there is a museum of rocket science in Kaluga, named after Tsiolkovsky.

Tsiolkovsky was deeply, if eccentrically, religious – which must have been somewhat of an embarrassment to Soviet authorities. And he had a partly migrant background. His father was a Roman Catholic immigrant from Poland, while his mother was Orthodox, but of Tatar ancestry. (Tatars are an ethnic group of Turkic origin, many of whom are Muslim.)

For migrant children living in Kaluga, it must be good to read about another “migrant kid” who grew up to become a scientific genius and a local hero.

Tsiolkovsky: The Path to the Stars is written by Aleksander Tkachenko and illustrated by Olga Gromova. It is recommended for ages 6+. ISBN: 978-5-907147-99-7

The cover image and the “blurb” in quotes are from the publisher’s webpage: https://www.nastyainikita.ru/ciolkovski. The ice-skating picture is from a book seller’s page: https://bookhole.by/books/tsiolkovskij-put-k-zvezdam/. The picture of the boy sitting alone in the meadow was from a reviewer, who blogs about children’s books: http://www.papmambook.ru/articles/1269/