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The Breadwinner

(The Breadwinner #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  16,799 ratings  ·  1,795 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 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
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I discovered this book a few days back after watching the trailer of its movie adaption. The trailer was stunning. So I searched for it on the internet to know some more about it and found out the Parvana series! Kudos to myself! :v

This book highlights the story of an eleven years old girl named Parvana who leads a very miserable life in Afghanistan because of the Taliban. Each day comes with new hardship for her and her family. Girls there cannot go to school, women must not come out of their h
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
داستان دربارهی پروانه و خانوادهشه، که از وقتی طالبان پدرشون رو دستگیر میکنه مجبور به استفاده از راههای عجیبی برای ادامه زندگی میشن. از جمله تبدیل کردن پروانه به پسر خانواده و فرستادنش برای کار در بازار.
اگر معلم کتابخوانی و اینها میبودم، معلم نوجوونای این سنی، این رو توی دستور کارم قرار میدادم واقعا.
از این نظر که از همه چیز مقداری داره.
هم آدم رو طوری با داستان زندگی پروانه و خانوادهش همراه میکنه که هی دوست داری سریعتر بره جلو، هم تلخی داره که یادت نره داری دربارهی کجا میخونی، اما به قدر کافی بر
Rebecca McPhedran
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
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
به نظرم این کتاب در بعضی از نواحی ایران مثل یزد و کرمان باید مثل کتاب درسی خواندنش برای بچه ها اجباری شود. در اکثر نقاط ایران حضور کودکان مهاجر افغانستانی در مدارس ایرانی پذیرفته نیست و ادغام کودکان مهاجر با کودکان ایرانی خیلی سخت صورت می گیرد. در عمل البته هیچ برنامه ای برای این ادغام وجود ندارد. به نظرم خواندن این رمان برای بچه های ایرانی باعث آشنایی آن ها با رنج و دردهای ملت همسایه می شود. یک گام خیلی خوب خواهد برای ادغام و آسیب ندیدن و تحقیر نشدن کودکان مهاجر...
خود کتاب هم فوق العاده بود. دب
I have wanted to read this book since middle school and finally decided to cheack it out after seeing a trailer for the movie.
Parvana is a young girl living in Afganistan during the Taliban regime. After her father is arrested and sent to prison, Parvana must dress and live as a boy in order to provide for her family.
I loved Parvana and her family and I plan on reading the rest of the series really soon.
Jeannie Donovan
Mar 28, 2013 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.
Nusrat Mahmood
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think Khaled hosseini is the first person for most of us who raised an interest to have a sight on Afgan lifestyle, their politics, their history and so on. I am not any different from those readers. for the sake of that, I have been reading anything on Afganistan since the Kite Runner amused me. Through this journey, I have met beautiful writers and their heartbreaking stories. Deborah Ellis is not different than them.

I have discovered the Breadwinner while watching movie trailers on youtube
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.
Feb 28, 2016 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 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!"
Kirsten Millar
Feb 22, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hafsa Sabira
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I can't praise this book enough. This book serves as an insight into the lives of the Afghan people who are going through continuous wars for more than 20 years. Some kids were born during war time, heard about the prosperous past of their nation from their parents and dreamed at night about better future, later died during war time. However,this particular novella sheds light in the Taliban rule in Afghanistan and tells the story of an 11 years old girl,Parvana. Born in a highly educated and pr ...more
محمد قرط الجزمي
كنت في زيارة جميلة إلى الشارقة، زرت فيها القصباء، ودخلت دار روايات للتفاهم معهم حول مجموعة قصصية جديدة لي قيد النشر.. وبينما أنا خارج من القصباء إذ دخلت مكتبة هناك، استقبلتني فتاة صغيرة رقيقة، عرضت عليَّ منشورات دار روايات، قالت لي: «دعك من هذا الرف، فهو مخصص لروايات الخيال العلمي».. قلت لها مبتسماً: «أنا مهووس بالخيال العلمي».. اشتريت كتاباً أو كتابين، وهممت بالخروج عندما عرضت علي الفتاة هذا الكتاب..

«المُعيلة.. رواية رائعة، ستعجبك»

الحق يقال أنني لم أتوقع أن تعجبني، لكنني أخذتها مجاملة لها.

Sep 07, 2011 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
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book tells you about Parvana, a little Afghan girl and her mother, who try to make a living. The mother waits or Jamil, Parvana's elder brother, to visit them. He has to come and visit them soon. He has to.

My first introduction to Afghanistan when I was on my first year after primary school. I remember we have collected milk to send to Afghan children at the time. Incidentally, it was my first introduction to Nantes too.
Smitha Murthy
A quiet tale of heroic courage set in Afghanistan, ‘The Breadwinner’ is a charming tale that speaks of the horrors of war with a warm dignity. I have read quite a few books on war, but I don’t think I have read many written for a child.

Parvana’s voice is lyrical and affecting, and as I read certain chapters of the book, I was moved by how the things we take for granted are often missed in life elsewhere. That’s one of the reasons I travel. There is this passage where Parvana is able to take her
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Waiting to read part 2!
Jun 11, 2013 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
Rebecca Einstein
Jan 03, 2012 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.
Sep 09, 2011 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.
Edit July 2018: Saw the movie, which is on Netflix. Just as beautiful and bittersweet as the book. I highly recommend both

Original review, Jan 2018:
A bittersweet and touching story about life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule for a young girl named Parvana and her family.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
3 ⭐ ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing. I had heard nothing about it before hand.
Really good eye opener to another world and the difficulties it faces every day.
I loved Mrs Weera.
Braden Groff
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rotem Rozner
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2013 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
Oda Renate
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this when I was younger one of my fave books.

It was turned into a movie last year, and got a best animation nom!!!
I really NEED to see it.
Katie McGaha
Nov 08, 2012 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
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2018 Beyond the C...: Book Review 1 1 3 May 14, 2018 09:49AM  
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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

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)
“it made her angry, and since she could do nothing with her anger, it made her sad.” 4 likes
“They were going to turn her into a boy.” 0 likes
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