Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 14
- Grade: 5 to 9
It’s 2021, and the Taliban have regained power in Afghanistan. Parvana and Shauzia, the brave protagonists of The Breadwinner, must now flee to escape new dangers from an old enemy.
In Kabul, 15-year-old Damsa runs away to avoid being forced into marriage by her family. She is found by a police officer named Shauzia, who takes her to Green Valley, a shelter and school for women and girls run by Parvana.
It has been 20 years since Parvana and Shauzia had to disguise themselves as boys to support themselves and their families. But when the Taliban were defeated in 2001, it looked as if Afghans could finally rebuild their country. Many things have changed for Parvana since then. She has married Asif, who she met in the desert as she searched for her family when she was a child. She runs a school for girls. She has a son, Rafi, who is about to fly to New York, where he will train to become a dancer.
But Shauzia is still Parvana’s best friend. And Parvana is still headstrong, bringing her in conflict with her spoiled sister Maryam.
While Asif tries to get Maryam and Rafi on one of the last flights out of Kabul, the Taliban come to the school, and Parvana must lead the girls out of Green Valley and into the mountains.
All royalties will be donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
About the author
Deborah Ellis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books for children, including The Breadwinner Trilogy; The Heaven Shop; Lunch With Lenin; Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees; and Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS. She has won many national and international awards for her books, including the Governor General’s Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Book for Older Readers.Deborah knew she wanted to be a writer at the age of 11 or 12. Growing up in Paris, Ontario, she loved reading about big cities like New York. In high school, Deborah joined the Peace Movement, playing anti-Nuclear War movies at her school. Since then Deborah has become a peace activist, humanitarian and philanthropist, donating almost all of the royalties from her books to communities in need in Asia and Africa. Heavily involved with Women for Women in Afghanistan, Deborah has helped build women’s centers and schools, giving children education and finding work for women.In 2006, Deborah was named to the Order of Ontario. She now lives in Simcoe, Ontario.