The Breadwinner

Ellis, Deborah

Book - 2001
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Breadwinner
"All girls [should read] The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis." - Malala Yousafzai, New York Times 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.

Publisher: Toronto ; Buffalo, [NY] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2001
ISBN: 0888994168
Branch Call Number: J ELLIS
Characteristics: 170 p. : maps ; 20 cm


From Library Staff

Afghani. First of three books about a girl named Parvana living in Afghanistan.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 09, 2014
  • the_Albino_wolf rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I think this is the most amazing and courageous book i have ever read. I don`t think anyone could be so courageous to become a boy, survive in the wilderness and watch three other children, and handle the grief of losing one. Parvana was almost as courageous as Malala!

Aug 08, 2014

This book is amazing!

Apr 14, 2014

breadwinner is an amazing book

Mar 15, 2014
  • ashfia7012 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

i thought the book was amazing!

Mar 03, 2014
  • annatilson rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is like, the best ever to learn what it was like in Pakistan, and learn new interesting things about what it was like in that time. I really like this book and I finished it in two days time! I find it interesting. I like how the other book called "Mud City" is Parvana's friend's story when she moved to France. Also the book called "Parvana's journey" that looks like a good one. This book does have some small parts of violence what-so-ever. But-yes I know that I have already said this about a million times, but this is a VERY GOOD BOOK!

Feb 15, 2014
  • Chillia rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

First time I read this author and I really enjoyed her writing.

Aug 17, 2013
  • rmarc rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

breadwinner is a good book and awesome

Aug 08, 2013
  • niku1234 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book as I do all of Deborah Ellis' books. It really makes you think about what you have compared to other people. Deborah Ellis' talent with a pen and paper is amazing because she has a way of writing that makes you feel as if you are with the character and in their shoes every step of the way. Each and every single page I enjoyed and here I am, hungry for more of Parvana's adventures.

Jan 21, 2013

awesome book definetly 5 stars

Jan 10, 2013
  • slowlyfairy4 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

i absolutely enjoyed this book and the next. i enjoyed every single page of it.i think you should really read this enchanting book.i really couldn't believe how lucky i was to have a home,a family and food to eat.i understand how hard it was for parvana to be a boy and help her family survive.right now our canadians soldiers are sent out to afghanistan to fight for the freedom of many afghans and to fight against the taliban.i hope you enjoy this book and learn how parvana's life is in afghanistan! =)

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

Aug 09, 2014
  • the_Albino_wolf rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

the_Albino_wolf thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Dec 08, 2013

Blue_Dog_3738 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jun 24, 2013

Indigo_Dolphin_91 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jun 22, 2013

mymelody123 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Mar 20, 2013
  • burgundy_leopard_4 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

burgundy_leopard_4 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jan 21, 2013

manvir_dhaliwal thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Aug 15, 2012
  • jessy24 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

jessy24 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Apr 15, 2012

evelynprizont thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 04, 2010
  • oilcountry04 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

oilcountry04 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Mar 23, 2009
  • awake88 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

awake88 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


Add a Summary

Feb 22, 2012

Parvana lives during the time of the Taliban invasion. Everything is crazy no women allowed outside without an escort, and so her mother and older sister Nooria are trapped inside. Parvana though is lucky, her dad lost a leg in a bombing and needs her support to go to the market and back. So life is just teetering along in the one room apartment with her mother, father, younger brother (Ali), younger sister (Maryam), and Nooria. Then one night Taliban soldiers come into there house and arrest her dad. Life is starting to break apart until she runs, literally, into one of her mothers old friends in the market. She visits and comes up with a plan. Parvana will have to dress as a boy and carry on her fathers work at the market. She sells the things they have but eventually they begin to run out of things to sell. Then one day a tea boy drops his cups and Parvana helps him pick them up. When she looks up into the face of the boy she gasps, this is no boy this is her old classmate Shauzia. Together they collect money digging bones and earn enough to buy trays with neck straps and goods to sell. One day she goes home and guess what her sister is going to get married. She stays with her mothers friend and then one day her father comes back. A while later she found a young woman who tells them that the town where her sister is getting married was captured by the Taliban. And that they were shooting people on the street. The book ends as she and her father go off to find her mother and siblings.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at SPL


Explore Further

Browse the Shelf
Get NoveList Reading Recommendations

Subject Headings