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Parvana by Deborah Ellis
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Parvana (original 2000; edition 2002)

by Deborah Ellis

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1,295766,051 (3.98)15
Member:zemaniax
Title:Parvana
Authors:Deborah Ellis
Info:Allen & Unwin (2002), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:War, Afghanistan

Work details

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (2000)

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Parvana is an eleven-year-old girl in Afghanistan, whose disabled father is thrown in jail by the Taliban for no other reason than being educated. Without a male escort the family are not permitted to go outside so Parvana adopts the guise of a boy so that she may become the breadwinner. Although this was a charming story about a very appealing child, it shows how unbearable Taliban rule is, how difficult life is in Afghanistan particularly for women. This beautifully written story intended for a young audience is one I can heartily recommend.

The author spent time in Afghan refugee camps where she heard similar stories. All royalties from this book are donated to Women for Women in Afghanistan. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Dec 9, 2014 |
rabck from Asian bookbox; chosen because it fits the Food bookbox that's headed my way, and also for the 666 challenge. Parvana's family is displaced due to the war and the Taliban. They now live in a one room apartment, with high windows (else there would be no light). The women must stay indoors at all times and can only travel out of the apartment with a man. When Parvana's father is arrested and imprisoned, what is the family to do? The rest of the household is female, and therefore cannot leave the apartment. Except, when Parvana assumes her dead brother's clothes and place, finally the family is "allowed" to see what happened to their father. And disguised as her brother, Parvana can work so the family will not starve. ( )
  nancynova | Dec 7, 2014 |
I liked this book for several reasons. I feel this way mainly because of the point of view from which the story is told, as well as how it pushes readers to think about life for females living in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan. A little girl named Parvana, who takes readers through her struggle to provide money for her family, tells the story in first person. Every emotion she is feeling, the readers are able to feel with her, because it is told through her perspective. Often the readers feel anxious for her, while at other points feel sad. Women living in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan cannot go out into public, without being escorted by a man. This is knowledge many readers have not been exposed to, so it pushes readers to think about how women are to provide for their families, if a male figure is not present. Often children are not exposed to Middle Eastern troubles, though in this story the tough issues found in that part of the world are exposed. The message of this story is bravery and persistence. Though Parvana’s father was taken away from her family, she improvised and was brave enough to go out into the world as a “man”, to provide for her family. ( )
  KimKolb | Nov 4, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book because it made me think about how wars affect different people and the character development was spot on. Within this novel, Deborah Ellis develops Parvanna’s character to be observant, compassionate, and brave with the struggles and daily chores she faces. Parvanna eventually has to learn how to provide for her family after her father is arrested. She takes on a new identity and works in the market reading and writing letters. She becomes two different but completely in-sync characters. Both Parvanna and her boy character Kaseem become different in personality and the way they present themselves yet they help each other grow. By being Kaseem, Parvanna learns about the world around her and by being herself she learns and shares her compassion. Within the novel, while all of this is happening, Deborah Ellis depicts the affects of the war through vivid imagery words and phrases along with strong words of regret and disgust for the way Parvanna’s world functions. Overall the big idea of this novel is to think of others in times of need and make sacrifices when necessary. ( )
  MelynnReadmond | Oct 20, 2014 |
By now a standard in the middle school classroom; historical fiction that provides discribes Afghanistan under Taliban rule and the consequences for the women and girls in that region;
  jilldavis | Oct 20, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Deborah Ellisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brisac, Anne-LaureTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kjersén Edman, LenaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manzolelli, ClaudiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridelberg, HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the children of war
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"I can read that letter as well as Father can," Parvana whispered into the folds of her chador.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In Afghanistan, only men are allowed to work. The Breadwinner tells the courageous story of a young Afghan woman living in war-torn Kabul who must pretend to be a boy so that she can work to support her family. Pravana and her family live in one room of a bombed-out apartment building. Her father, a former history teacher who was injured when his school was bombed, works in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. Because of his foreign education, he is arrested by the Taliban, the radical religious faction that controls the country. Forbidden to go to school, work outside the home, or even leave the home without a male escort, Pravana disguises herself as a boy to become the breadwinner. This powerful book brings to light the reality of life under the Taliban, illustrating not only the lengths that one young girl goes through simply to put bread on the table but also the enormous capacity of children for acts of courage.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0888994168, Paperback)

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 that it's up to her to become the "breadwinner" and disguise herself as a boy to support her mother, two sisters, and baby brother. Set in the early years of the Taliban regime, this topical novel for middle readers explores the harsh realities of life for girls and women in modern-day Afghanistan. A political activist whose first book for children, Looking for X, dealt with poverty in Toronto, Ellis based The Breadwinner on the true-life stories of women in Afghan refugee camps.

In the wily Parvana, Ellis creates a character to whom North American children will have no difficulty relating. The daughter of university-educated parents, Parvana is thoroughly westernized in her outlook and responses. A pint-sized version of Offred from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Parvana conceals her critique of the repressive Muslim state behind the veil of her chador. Although the dialogue is occasionally stilted and the ending disappointingly sketchy, The Breadwinner is essential reading for any child curious about ordinary Afghans. Like so many books and movies on the subject, it is also eerily prophetic. "Maybe someone should drop a big bomb on the country and start again," says a friend of Parvana's. "'They've tried that,' Parvana said, 'It only made things worse.'" (Ages 9 to 12) --Lisa Alward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:16 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women's freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father's arrest.

(summary from another edition)

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