Author: Deborah Ellis
Lexile Score: n/a
Genre: Realistic fiction
Maturity level: Middle School - violence
Pages: 166 Chapters: 15 Average Chapter Length: 10 pages
Theme: gender, war
Project ideas: Research how war affects children.
First Line: “I can read that letter as well as Father can,” Parvana whispered into the folds of her chador.
Main Character: Parvana, an Afghan girl
Review in 25 words or less: The effect of Taliban rule as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Painful, gripping, and illuminating.
Without overly proselytizing, The Breadwinner gives a realistic view of how the Taliban rule has affected the lives of the members of Parvana’s family, and how they maintain hope in the face of dwindling resources, sacrificing much to survive. Most violence is implied, though Parvana’s trip to the soccer stadium to sell cigarettes involves witnessing some “eye-for-an-eye” punishment. Readers are also given a brief view of a Taliban soldier, as Parvana reads a letter that makes him cry, she wonders about the humanity of the “enemy.” A powerful novel that would provide many robust book club discussions, and give students some understanding of