Kids are naturally inventive and curious and creative, but most adults have had that beaten out of them. Writing is a form of play; you have to get rid of all those internal censors that we adults have, the things that say, 'Don't go there, that's not allowed.
From an evolutionary perspective children are, literally, designed to learn. Childhood is a special period of protected immaturity. It gives the young breathing time to master the things they will need to know in order to survive as adults.
A book is actually a place, a place where we, as adults, still have the chance to engage in active imagining, translating word to image, connecting these images to memories, dreams, and larger ideas. Television, film, even the stage play, have already been imagined for us, but the book, in whatever form we choose to interact with it, forces us to complete it.
If the Russians have gone too far in subjecting the child and his peer group to conformity to a single set of values imposed by the adult society, perhaps we have reached the point of diminishing returns in allowing excessive autonomy and in failing to utilize the constructive potential of the peer group in developing social responsibility and consideration for others.
Anyone can tell you that how you're raised as a child has a great deal to do with how you behave as an adult and whether you have complexes or whether you need to prove yourself or all that kind of stuff and yet the mother in a traditional family who has raised a child never makes it in the history books.