The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

The story takes place in Afghanistan where Parvana lives with her family, which includes her mother, father, sister and baby brother. Although Parvana’s parents are both well educated, due to the unrest in the country and the Taliban invasion things change dramatically and swiftly for the family. Her father is no longer able to teach at the University and her mother is unable to even walk the streets unattended or without proper Bur-qua attire (covered head to toe). Parvana can no longer go to school or even risk going outside other than to get water for her family, simply because she is a girl.

Her father, in an effort to provide for the family, ends up reading letters in exchange for cash but is eventually arrested for having a book in his possession. Without a male figure to escort anyone into town, Parvana is forced to dress as a boy and sell tea in the market in order to provide for the entire family.

This book is a page turner and written from the perspective of a young teenage Afghan girl. There are a total of 4 books in the series: The Breadwinner, Parvana’s Journey, Mud City, and My name is Parvana. Ellis wanted to ensure her material was as accurate as possible being an ‘outsider’ writing about it, so she traveled to Afghanistan to research this book and saw first hand what these mud cities and bombed out towns were like. This book has been used across the United States at the middle and early high school levels to raise awareness in the differences in education throughout the world. It is now also a movie and was nominated for 4 awards including: 2018 Critics Choice, 2018 Golden Globes, Best Motion Picture, Animated, and won for Best Animation.

Located in Children’s Paperbacks (J PBK ELLIS)

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