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The Breadwinner (The Breadwinner #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  13,165 Ratings  ·  1,419 Reviews
Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, 11-year-old Parvana has rarely been outdoors. Barred from attending school, shopping at the market, or even playing in the streets of Kabul, the heroine of Deborah Ellis's engrossing children's novel The Breadwinner is trapped inside her family's one-room home. That is, until the Taliban hauls away her father and Parvana realizes th ...more
Paperback, 171 pages
Published October 25th 2001 by Groundwood Books (first published September 1st 2000)
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Nov 17, 2014 Lynda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has an interest in women and their plight in the Middle East
According to a 2014 UN report, Afghanistan is the worst country in the world to be born a girl. The average life expectancy of a woman is 44 years. Given such harsh gender segregation, many families are bringing up their daughters as sons. They are known as bacha posh – the literal term translated from Dari for a girl “dressed like a boy” in Afghanistan.

This is a photo of Mehran Rafaat, a girl disguised as a boy, with her twin sisters outside their family home in Afghanistan.
Photograph: Adam Fe
Jul 29, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this book. I read it in less than 24 hours. It is a beautifully written story about a young Afghan girl named Parvana who is growing up in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan. Her story is amazing, I know that it is fiction, but I believe that the author, Deborah Ellis, did a lot of research on how women live in Afghanistan. Anyway, Parvana's family is very well educated, and thus are considered to be a threat to the Taliban. Parvana's father can read and has a little place in the ma ...more
Immy ❗❕❗
Feb 28, 2016 Immy ❗❕❗ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Parvana by Deborah Ellis

It was a re-read and a quick one at that but every word on every page was so perfectly put. I can't even write out all of the things that are running through my head.
Tragedy after tragedy. Hope and disappointment. A happy moment followed by days and weeks of depression. It's just kind of hard to imagine that so many people actually have that life. Girls that have to disguise themselves as boys. Women not being able to go outside. Men being punished for having an educatio
Francesca Tubito
Sep 15, 2011 Francesca Tubito rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Parvana is a great book! The book is very interesting... It doesn't only explain how Parvana is feeling, but it also describes how other girls in Afghanistan survive with the Taliban in control. Some girls in Afghanistan are scared to go outside, I would be too, but Parvana is brave to go outside to get food for her family. At the end Parvana, goes back to see her family which is sad and happy at the same time... I really LOVED this book and I can't wait to read "Parvana's Journey!"
Jeannie Donovan
Mar 28, 2013 Jeannie Donovan rated it it was amazing
My middle school students responded so strongly to my booktalk about this book, that the library and the local bookstores ran out, and many went on to read the sequel. However, do not be quick to label this as purely young adult fiction. As an adult, I was changed and moved by Parvana and her family, and this novel has stuck with me vividly for 12 years.
Sep 07, 2011 Ahnaf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I have ever read. All The ideas in the book have logical supporting evidence, The characters are very realistic due to their activities and appearance. I would recommend this book to each and every student in the world (Even the bullies). I think when someone reads this book their thought about Afghanistan and Afghan people must change. This book was just so realistic and so pure that it took my breath away. I could literally feel the characters' feelings, sometimes ...more
Sep 09, 2011 Althea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Parvana was a very good book. Deborah Ellis keeps action in the story, while still developing the character of Parvana. The writing flows smoothly and was very enjoyable. I liked the whole book, but it gets very exciting in chapters fourteen and fifteen. It has a good ending, but it makes the reader want to know more about Parvana, and what happens to her.
Kirsten Millar
Feb 22, 2015 Kirsten Millar rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Jun 11, 2013 Claire rated it really liked it
The novel The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis is a book concerning human rights. In this novel the main character Parvana, an eleven year old girl is living in a one room home with her five family members in Afghanistan. At the time, the Taliban are ruling their town and orders all the girls and women in Afghanistan to stay inside their homes. They even forbid girls to go to school or walk outside without a man. Throughout the novel Parvana comes across many challenges such as loosing her father, c ...more
Braden Groff
Jun 12, 2013 Braden Groff rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rotem Rozner
Jun 06, 2013 Rotem Rozner rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2013 Clio rated it really liked it
The Bread Winner by Deborah Ellis is about a girl name Parvana who is living with her family in the 1980’s in Afghanistan. She is trying to survive life under Taliban rule. I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was very inspiring and empowering to see a women survive under such strict rule. It made me appreciate what it is like to have your human rights stripped from you. Human rights are a moral entitlement that everyone should have. For example one of my human rights is the freedom ...more
Katie McGaha
Nov 08, 2012 Katie McGaha rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and I think it will be a great eye opener for students. The book starts off with 11-year-old Parvanna and her background as a little girl living in Taliban controlled Afghanistan and the struggles she and other girls and women faced. When her father is captured and taken away by the Taliban her family have no way to provide since women were not allowed to work or go to school or even go outside. In order to make sure that her family eats, Parvanna decides to disguise her ...more
Aisha A 140A571
The breadwinner is the best book I have ever read. It talked about a family who is from Afghanistan specifically in Kabul. This country is under the rules of Taliban. There were a rule which claims that no woman or a girl could dare to go out of the house. This family has a girl called Parvana and she wanted to feed her family to survive, but she couldn't because she was a girl. As a result Parvana dressed like a boy and worked to earn money. Her family was well educated and her father read lett ...more
Confidential Ness
Dec 21, 2011 Confidential Ness rated it did not like it
This book had potential. A children/young adult book set in a country ravaged by war COULD have been an interesting, dark book, but simple bad writing ruined it.
The whole book was written in the style of:
My mother cried and started hitting them. They shot her. I cried and hid. They went away. I came out.
It's very bland, clunky and downright painful. There is little exploration of their religion, and characters who hasn't been educated is quickly dismissed as stupid and unimportant, even if th
Tara Chevrestt
Sep 03, 2010 Tara Chevrestt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, library, afghanistan
This is the first book in The Breadwinner trilogy. Parvana is eleven years of age and she lives in Taliban ruled Afghanistan. Her mother and sisters have not left the house in a year. Women are not allowed outside the home without a male escort and full burqa. Thus, when her father, the breadwinner of the family is arrested, Parvana's household full of women has a problem. How to get food? How to get money? They can't leave or go to work...

This is how Parvana becomes a boy. She becomes a busine
Jan 17, 2013 Irene rated it it was amazing
This book is talking about a girl called parvana that lives in afghanstan, kabul and has to dress up as a boy to sell stuff since there are no boys in the family, the father has been jailed and the girls are to big and to small, parvana is just right. As a boy, she met a girl who is dressing up as a boy just like parvana called shauzia. Life is not what it is going to be what you dream.

I like this book because it is adventureous and it is very interesting and it teaches me a lesson that not real
Jan 21, 2017 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short but beautifully written tale. Ellis is very good at weaving a complex story into such a small package. I felt as though I were there with Parvana experiencing all if her troubles, triumphs and emotions.

Unfortunately at the end of the book there were major spoilers about the other books in the series, written as blurbs for the other titles. This made me less interested in reading the other books in this series. As such I think I will just stop at this book.
Rebecca Einstein
Jan 03, 2012 Rebecca Einstein rated it it was amazing
This book was assigned to my son, who is in the 6th grade. Because he struggles with reading, I have made it a habit to read the same books that he is reading for school.

And I am so glad.

Because I might not have had any other reason to discover this very compelling story.

It was a fast read and one that gave me particular insights into life under the Taliban regime. I am looking forward to many great discussions with my son as he and his classmates make their way through it.
Deborah Pickstone
5.5 stars

Strong storyline, excellent characterisation, gripping prose - and worst of's true. These things did happen, are happening; it's real. The story is a story but someone like these characters exists. Tragic. Horrific. We in the West are so spoiled and lucky.

Read this - it's worth the short amount of time it will take you. It's no YA book, it's for everyone. And the women out there with no voices deserve to have us at least contemplate what their lives are like.
Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic)
Mar 11, 2017 Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic) rated it really liked it
This book is heartbreaking but hopeful at the same time. It made me realise just how truly lucky I am to have the kind of life that I do. It confirmed to me just how much we need feminism. This book may be a children's book but it deals with devastating topics such as war, death, poverty and the oppression of women. I learnt so much about the Taliban regime, Afghanistan refugees and although it was hard, I'm thankful that I got to see how people's lives were in that time, it really put things in ...more
Samman Naz
Mar 17, 2017 Samman Naz rated it it was amazing
Really good book. It gives you a perspective on what it was like to live under the harsh rule of the Taliban.
Jun 13, 2013 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
The Breadwinner is an acclaimed novel written by Deborah Ellis. It showcases factual concepts towards the notion of human rights, drawing the reader in to make conclusions for themselves. By inference, the title gives out a clear message of what the book’s morals will be about. It talks about the breadwinner, someone whose earnings are the primary source of support for one’s dependents. The novel takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city, where the Taliban Militia have enforced laws restr ...more
Dewi Masna
Jan 31, 2016 Dewi Masna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Buku yang menceritakan kisah perjuangan Parvana, seorang gadis berusia 11 tahun, yang tinggal di Afghanistan pada masa rezim militer Taliban. Parvana berasal dari keluarga berpendidikan, Ayahnya lulusan Inggris, dan ibunya bekerja sebagai jurnalis di kantor berita ternama. Taliban melarang para wanita keluar dari rumah mereka tanpa laki- laki pendamping dan burqa. Jadi semua sekolah ditutup, tidak ada lagi wanita yang bekerja dan belanja di pasar. Parvana mempunyai seorang kakak perempuan bernam ...more
Feb 21, 2017 Hassan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adab, deutsch
أنهيت الكتاب في مشفى barmherzige Brüder
في فيينا - قبيل العملية المقرر إجراؤها لي
لذلك لم أترك الكتاب و أنهيته في غضون خمس ساعات
يتحدث الكتاب عن صراع الأفغان مع الطالبان
متناولاً قصة فتاة صغيرة تصارع الحياة و تضطر للتزيي بزي فتى كي يسمح لها بجلب قوت أهلها و التحرك بحرية أكثر و ذلك بعد أن اعتقل الطالبان والدها

ينتهي الكتاب دون أن تنتهي القصة
فبعد عودة أبيها من السجن يضطران معا للذهاب للبحث عن أمها و بقية أخواتها الذين ذهبوا لمنطقة أخرى لتزويج أختها الكبرى نورية ولم يعودوا
قصة الرحلة مع أبيها موجود
Engelbert López
Dec 25, 2016 Engelbert López rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¿Que pienso de este libro? me pregunta goodreads. Vaya que aún no lo sé, no lo tengo claro. Seré sincero, le he dado cuatro estrellas porque solo me debato entre dos calificaciones: tres y cinco, así que me fui por el término medio.

La historia que se esconde detrás del pan de la guerra no es una historia bonita, es una historia que halló su origen en el testimonio de una mujer afgana en un campo de refugiados. ¿Puede eso darnos una idea de que esconden estas páginas? no, la verdad es que no. ¿P
Mary-Lynn Kebker
Nov 15, 2015 Mary-Lynn Kebker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
The Breadwinner explores a side of war that we rarely see on television are read about in newspapers. Life is spiraling out of control for Parvana, a 12 year-old Afghan girl, as she goes from innocent schoolgirl to being the sole breadwinner and caretaker for her family. After the invasion of the Taliban, Parvana’s father is arrested despite not committing a crime. Due to this, Parvana is forced to do the unthinkable in order to make money for her family. As her family gets more and more despera ...more
Jaclyn Giordano
The Breadwinner is a chapter book intended for readers in grades three though six. It is a story set in Kabul, Afghanistan, of 11-year-old Parvana taking the role as a little boy in order to get money for her family after her father is arrested and sent to prison. I gave this book four stars. I listened to this story on an Audio CD. This format is different for me. However, I enjoyed the female narrator’s voice, as it was soft and emotional, bringing back memories of being read to. The dialect ...more
Sep 30, 2010 Leane rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely fabulous and I cannot wait to read the two sequels. I have never read anything like this, sadly, because I don't think there are many books out there that focus on this culture and these experiences. The story is about eleven-year-old Parvana, who is growing up under the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The country has been at war for over twenty years, and Parvana knows really nothing except bombs and ruined buildings and stories of what it used to be long ago. Her fa ...more
Evelyn Chen
Feb 16, 2010 Evelyn Chen rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-eastern
APA Citation:
Ellis, Deborah. (2001) The breadwinner /Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre ;

Reader Interest/Level: Grades 7-10

Ever since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, 11-year-old Parvana has been banned from attending school, playing with her friends in the streets; she is trapped inside her family's one-room apartment. Her only sense of freedom was when she could accompany her father to the market, but when the Taliban arrests her father, Parvana disguises herself as a boy to support he
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Goodreads Librari...: Seperate books, or wrong info? 3 20 Jan 09, 2017 08:56AM  
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Deborah Ellis has achieved international acclaim with her courageous and dramatic books that give Western readers a glimpse into the plight of children in developing countries.

She has won the Governor General's Award, Sweden's Peter Pan Prize, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California's Middle East Book Award, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award.

A long-t
More about Deborah Ellis...

Other Books in the Series

The Breadwinner (4 books)
  • Parvana's Journey (The Breadwinner, #2)
  • Mud City (The Breadwinner, #3)
  • My Name Is Parvana (The Breadwinner, #4)

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