2017 Kniguru in America Winners Announced 

Kniguru animated green character reading a red bookCleveland Public Library congratulates the winners of the inaugural Kniguru in America contest, a competition encouraging youth to review Russian-language books. Nine children from across the United States were recognized as winners, including three Cleveland Public Library patrons who composed reviews based on books they borrowed from the Library’s collection. 

Kniguru, a prestigious Russian book award for children’s literature, partnered with Cleveland Public Library in 2017 to bring the contest to the United States for the first time. Twenty-six children from New York, Boston, Cleveland, Virginia, and New Mexico participated in the contest. 

“Kniguru in America provided a valuable experience for children. Reading and reviewing these books encouraged participants to embrace their Russian roots or to learn more about Russian language and culture,” says Victoria Kabo, International Languages Librarian at Cleveland Public Library and Kniguru in America juror. “We received many excellent submissions, and we look forward to partnering with Kniguru again next year.” 


Winners were announced in three categories: 


Individual Review, Age 7-10 Years 

  • First Place: Andrei Karpovich, age 10, of New York City. 

  • Second Place: Katya Dudnik, age 10, of New York City.  

  • Third Place: Alissa Mohamed, age 9, of Parma, Ohio. 


Individual Review, Age 11-15 Years 

  • First Place: Anna Zagrai, age 11, of Socorro, New Mexico. 

  • Second Place: Elia Lindeman, age 13, of New York City. 

  • Third Place: Nikolai Zasukhin, age 15, of Cleveland.  


Collective Review 

  • First Place: Varvara Zasukhina, age 9, and her mother, Victoria Zasukhina, of Cleveland. The Zasukhiny submitted a book review of The Violin of an Unknown Master by Nina Dashevskaya in the creative form of a crossword puzzle. 

  • Second Place: Dasha Genkin, age 11, and Sabina Cherner, age 10, of New York City. Genkin and Cherner submitted a video review of Time Is Always Good by A. Zhvalevskiy and E. Pasternak. 


The jury especially recognized the Zasuchiny family of Cleveland for their participation in the contest. In total, Zasuchiny family members submitted four reviews (three individual and one collective) and received two awards. After the conclusion of the Kniguru contest, the Russian-American web portal Forum Daily: The Voice of Russian-Speaking America published an article in Russian about the Zasuchiny family. The article considers how to motivate children living in the United States to learn and preserve the Russian language. 


Kniguru in America winners received award certificates and autographed books of the children’s authors who won the original book contest in RussiaCleveland Public Library’s Graphics Department designed and printed all certificates for the contest.   


Contest participants wrote reviews on the following books: The Violin of the Unknown Master and Near the Music by Nina DashevskayaThe Time is Always Good by Andrei Zhvalevsky and Eugenia Pasternak, The Cat of Oblivion by Antonina MalyshevaKrivolapich by Stanislav VostokovRussian Captive of a French Cat by Igor Zhukov, and I Am 14 for Two Years Already by Irina Kostevich. 


A second Kniguru in America competition will be held in 2018. To learn more about this contest and to view the jury members, please see Kniguru Russian Literature Award Makes Its U.S. Debut.”