Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Parvana lives in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. When her father is taken prisoner, it falls to Parvana to keep the family alive. She sheds her tresses and chador and dresses like a boy to move freely in public and make money by reading for those who cannot.

Parvana's story is a page turner. I was fascinated by her struggle to be a young girl who loves to play and learn but who also shoulders a heavy and dangerous burden. Living in a one-room apartment created tension within the family especially since women could not go outdoors without a male escort. The bickering between Parvana and her older sister, though sometimes funny, was mostly heartbreaking since each knew she shouldn't add to the other one's suffering. It was exciting to watch the family cope and make the best of their situation. The realities of living in a war-torn country are harsh but Ellis creates dynamic and captivating characters who shine through the darkness. The Breadwinner, the first in a trilogy, stands well on its own and is a great read for 5th-7th grade readers. This book counts towards the POC Reading Challenge!

Publisher: Groundwood, 2001.     Pages: 170
Rating: 5 Stars     Source: Public Library


  1. I read this a long time ago, and enjoyed reading your review and remembering. I didn't realize it was the first in a series. Thanks!

  2. I loved this book and so did my girls that I read it out loud too. We read the next one in the trilogy also and liked it.

  3. Shelley, I'm glad to hear the next book is good, too!