Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 14
- Grade: 5 to 9
- Reading age: 10 to 14
"All girls [should read] The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis." — Malala Yousafzai, New York Times
Over two million copies of The Breadwinner Trilogy sold worldwide
Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital city. Parvana's father -- a history teacher until his school was bombed and his health destroyed -- works from a blanket on the ground in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. One day, he is arrested for the crime of having a foreign education, and the family is left without someone who can earn money or even shop for food.
As conditions for the family grow desperate, only one solution emerges. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy, and become the breadwinner.
The Breadwinner is a novel about loyalty, survival, families and friendship under extraordinary circumstances. A map, glossary and author's note provide young readers with background and context. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to Women for Women, an organization that supports health and education projects in Afghanistan.
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.
- Long-listed, Young Jury Awards
- Winner, Swedish Peter Pan Prize
- Winner, Baia delle Favole Prize for ages 9-12
- Commended, Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Award
- Long-listed, SYRCA Diamond Willow Award
- Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award
- Long-listed, OLA Golden Oak Award
- Winner, Hackmatack Award
- Commended, YALSA PPYA
- Winner, Middle East Book Award
- Long-listed, OLA Red Maple Award
A great kids' book...a graphic geopolitical brief that's also a girl-power parable.
...a book...about the hard times - and the courage - of Afghan children.
[The books in the Breadwinner trilogy] are terrifying indictments of what war can bring to children and a powerful testaments to the ingenuity and strength of young people in times of terror.
...hands-down, Newberry Medal worthy...This was a fantastic read.
...an exceptional story that enlightens the reader about circumstances beyond comprehension and helps students understand that all of us in this global community share the same hopes, dreams, and fears.
This is an important and compelling story for young people...
Other titles by Deborah Ellis
My Story Starts Here
Voices of Young Offenders
Kids of Kabul
Living Bravely through a Never-ending War
Parvana : Une enfance en Afghanistan
La bande dessinée
The Breadwinner: A Graphic Novel
A Graphic Novel