I am aware that Tolstoy wrote stories specifically for children. However, I would also like to know which of his other stories of his vast bibliography are suitable (i. e. age appropriate) for children.

For example, I know that Compass Book Ratings recommends Anna Karenina for people above the age of 18 due to profanity, violence and sex occurring in the book. But they do not have content ratings for any of his other stories. Other examples of content ratings for books include Common Sense Media, My Book Ratings and Fiction Ratings – none of which provide content ratings for any stories by Tolstoy however.

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    I'm 13 and I'm on page 400 and really enjoy it. Some of my friends whom I have showed anna karenina to understand it. It's a great book that really isn't that hard to read.
    – Zola Mayo
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 1:50

2 Answers 2


Sex in Anna Karenina? Whoever put that rating must have had a wild imagination. I'd rather restrict it for drug use.

To be serious, Anna Karenina is not suitable for a reader below 18 just because such reader wouldn't understand a thing of what is going on. This applies to most of Tolstoy's writings.

Cossacks may be an exception. Just find a good translation - it is arguably a best piece of prose written in Russian, at least in its timeframe. Sebastopol Stories are definitely good for a 12+ years old (in Soviet Union it was a mandatory reading for 6th graders). After the Ball (mandatory reading for 8th graders) could also be an exception, but I don't recommend it for the abundance of trivial morality.


"a reader [of Anna Karenina] below 18...wouldn't understand a thing of what is going on."

That's an exaggeration. Teen-age readers would understand the basics of the plot.

I first read The Brothers Karamazov when I was 13 or 14; then again in my 20's; once more in my late 40's; and again as a septuagenarian. Each time I read it I was moved by it, and each time I understood more than I had the time before.

  • Hi Denkof. The first part of your answer reads more like a comment to the other answer. The second part is more about how your understanding of a novel evolved over the years but does not say much about the work's appropriateness for children.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 15:15
  • My remarks were meant to be a comment; they somehow (must've been gremlins, it couldn't have been my fault) came through as an answer. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 1:27

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