The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner

Written by: Ellis, Deborah
ages 10 to 14 / grades 5 to 9

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"All girls [should read] The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis." — Malala Yousafzai, New York Times

The first book in Deborah Ellis’s riveting Breadwinner series is an award-winning novel about loyalty, survival, families and friendship under extraordinary circumstances during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

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 fifteenth anniversary edition includes a special foreword by Deborah Ellis as well as a new map, an updated author’s note and a glossary to provide young readers with background and context. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Parvana’s Fund supports education projects for Afghan women and children.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
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.

"All girls [should read] The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis." — Malala Yousafzai, New York Times

The first book in Deborah Ellis’s riveting Breadwinner series is an award-winning novel about loyalty, survival, families and friendship under extraordinary circumstances during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

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 fifteenth anniversary edition includes a special foreword by Deborah Ellis as well as a new map, an updated author’s note and a glossary to provide young readers with background and context. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Parvana’s Fund supports education projects for Afghan women and children.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
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.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Sep 1, 2000
Specifications 160 pages | 5.25 in x 8 in
Supporting Resources
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Excerpt
Teacher's Guide
Written By

DEBORAH ELLIS is the author of the international bestseller The Breadwinner, which has been published in twenty-five languages. She has won the Governor General’s Award, the Middle East Book Award, the Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Deborah has donated more than $2 million in royalties to organizations such as Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Mental Health Without Borders, the UNHCR and the Children in Crisis fund of IBBY. She lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Written By

DEBORAH ELLIS is the author of the international bestseller The Breadwinner, which has been published in twenty-five languages. She has won the Governor General’s Award, the Middle East Book Award, the Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Deborah has donated more than $2 million in royalties to organizations such as Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Mental Health Without Borders, the UNHCR and the Children in Crisis fund of IBBY. She lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Audience ages 10 to 14 / grades 5 to 9
Reading Levels Lexile 630L
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3

Winner, Hackmatack Award, 2003

Short-listed, Trillium Book Award, 2001

Winner, Baia delle Favole Prize for ages 9–12, 2003

Winner, Middle East Book Award, 2002

Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award, 2003

Winner, Swedish Peter Pan Prize, 2003

Long-listed, OLA Golden Oak Award, 2003

Long-listed, OLA Red Maple Award, 2001

“[The books in the Breadwinner series] are terrifying indictments of what war can bring to children and a powerful testament to the ingenuity and strength of young people in times of terror.” —Book Links

“...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.” —Resource Links

“..a book...about the hard times — and the courage — of Afghan children.” —Washington Post

“A great kids’ book...a graphic geopolitical brief that’s also a girl-power parable.” —Newsweek