Groundwood Books Imprint Logo

Mud City

Written by Deborah Ellis

Series Title: Breadwinner Series

  • 176 Pages
  • 9781554980277
  • Reading age from 10 to 14
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Girls & Women
  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Middle East
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Social Situations / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance



Publication Date September 01, 2003

The third book in the internationally-bestselling series that includes The Breadwinner, Mud City and My Name Is Parvana

Parvana’s best friend, Shauzia, has escaped the misery of her life in Kabul, only to end up in a refugee camp in Pakistan. But she still dreams of seeing the ocean and eventually making a new life in France. This is the dream that has sustained her through the terrible years in Kabul. It is the dream for which she has forsaken family and friends.

But it is hard to imagine herself in a field of purple lavender when she is living in the Widows’ Compound of a muddy, crowded refugee camp outside Peshawar. Even worse, the compound is run by Mrs. Weera, Shauzia’s bossy phys ed teacher from Kabul, who insists that Shauzia be useful and make the best of a dismal situation.

Shauzia finally decides to leave the camp and try her luck on the streets. She is determined to earn money to buy her passage out of the country. Peshawar is dangerous and full of desperately poor and wandering children like herself, but she has Jasper, the dog who followed her down from a shepherds’ camp in the mountains. And she knows how to masquerade as a boy and comb the streets for jobs. She figures she knows how to survive.

But life as a street kid is dangerous and terrifying, and even with the advantages of a strong will, brave spirit and good luck, Shauzia soon discovers that the old choices are not so easy any more. This is a powerful and very human story of a feisty, driven girl who tries to take control of her own life.

The reissue includes a new cover and map, and an updated author’s note and glossary to provide young readers with background and context. Royalties from the sale of this book will go to Street Kids International.

Winner of the Hackmatack Award 2005

Selected for the CCBC Our Choice 2004

Selected for the Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice 2004

Selected for the Lamplighter Award 2005

Selected for the NYPL Books for the Teenage List 2004

Long-listed for the Red Cedar Book Award 2005

Short-listed for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award 2004


Deborah Ellis
Deborah Ellis is best known for her Breadwinner books — a series that has been published in twenty-five languages, with more than $1 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International. She has won the Governor General’s Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She recently received the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement, and she has been named to the Order of Ontario.


Star Review

"...a stunning portrait of a totally devastated world where children are forced to fend for themselves..." Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

"Mud City is a gripping novel." Canadian Children's Literature

"[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." Book Links