The Breadwinner

Deborah Ellis

This book tells the story of 11-year-old Parvana, a girl growing up in war-torn Kabul Afghanistan, under Taliban rule.  Parvana comes from a family that values education, but lives under a government that prohibits women and girls from learning to read.  She is educated secretly and her family survives, evading bombs and dealing with the regular shortages that come with war, until her father is arrested.  With no man in the home, Parvana's family has no way to earn money -- no way to even get food from the market.  So, they "turn" Parvana into a boy.  In a world in which women are ordered to be covered from head to toe with a burqa, Parvana goes to the market every day to earn her living as "letter reader" -- she reads and write letters for those who cannot, many of whom are Taliban soldiers.  This story is both a unique look into an interesting world (even dealing with the mundane details of how difficult it is to walk while wearing a burqa!) and an adventure story of how Parvana survives all of the events of the world of Kabul and the war, while pretending to be a boy.

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