The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner

Paperback - 2000
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women's freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Pavana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father's arrest.
Publisher: Toronto : Groundwood Books : House of Anansi, c2000.
ISBN: 9780888994165
Characteristics: 170 pages :,maps ;,20 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 25, 2018

The Little Girl

Living in fear of bombs roaring in my ears,
My father has been captured and might die in tears,
I can’t stand up for what I believe,
I was disguised as a boy so I could get fed,
I am the little brave girl,
I am Parvana the BreadWinner.

By Amir.k

Great book. You will someday do a project on this novel since I did two times in grade 7 and 8. I would recommend this book to the English language learns who are trying to start reading novels and students from grade 5-10. In addition, this book will make you more open-minded and teaches what other people are also going through. SO go read it and enjoy!

Jul 25, 2018

The book “The Breadwinner” is a well-written novel with suspenseful events and cliffhangers after every chapter. “The Breadwinner” initially has a series of 3 books with the same theme throughout each one. This book really expressesthe mood and emotion of anger, suspense and sadness. The text is very well written, giving little images and senses of dangerous and heartbreaking events throughout the whole novel. I personally believe that this novel is based on teens, as the book tells a story of a young girl’s struggles living in Afghanistan. However, I do not recommend this book for younger children due to the fact that it could difficult for them to understand the plot and could perhaps be boring. Once you start reading Breadwinner you cannot stop until you have finished the whole book and perhaps the whole series. This book can easily catch the attention of people who simply do not enjoy reading, this book will definitely attract them into the Breadwinner series and perhaps into the world of reading. “The Breadwinner” is easily a great book to read over the summer when you have nothing to do. Rating 5/5
- @Chichiro of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Jul 09, 2018

A quick and interesting read - moving. Don't expect it to track with the animated film. The book includes much more, and more brutal, detail.

Jun 23, 2018

I loved this one. it is probably one of the best Social Studies books out there. I loved Parvana's character. Deborah Ellis really outdid herself on this one.

May 25, 2018

This is an extremely powerful novel written for middle schoolers about the situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. I think it is important for youth to read but also I suggest that parents or teachers help anyone reading it as parts can be extremely shocking. The book clearly depicts the situation of an 11 year old girl who has grown up in a middle-class, educated family where the parents believe education for their daughters is very important. When the Taliban took over, girls were forbidden to attend school and women had to be totally covered with burkas when going outside and only out escorted by a male member of the family. This family has had to move several times to smaller and smaller places as their residences get bombed and they lose their possessions. Finally they live in just one room in a partially bombed building. When the father is falsely arrested and the only male in the family is a toddler, something has to be done so the family does not starve. This is a powerful book, the first is a trilogy and would inspire a lot of discussion.

Feb 20, 2018

I can't wait till the movie is out. So far I love this book.

Jan 28, 2018

Parvana is facing a few issues that most kids have - sibling rivalry, the need to help her parents, and disagreements. But in a whole different way.

Jan 10, 2018

Deeply moving and heartbreaking.

Aug 16, 2017

This book was so good, and the following books keep getting better and better.

Jul 15, 2016

I love this book so much. It shows because anyone would do anything to help you and how friends have each other's backs and no matter what happens they help each other. I liked this book better than mud city because of the family and friend love and courage.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Jun 23, 2018

lucyruth thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Feb 20, 2018

reypotter06 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Umais06 Dec 29, 2017

Umais06 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Dec 10, 2016

JustinL05 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Aug 09, 2014

the_Albino_wolf thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Blue_Dog_3738 Dec 08, 2013

Blue_Dog_3738 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Indigo_Dolphin_91 Jun 24, 2013

Indigo_Dolphin_91 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jun 22, 2013

willyyun thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Mar 20, 2013

burgundy_leopard_4 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jan 21, 2013

manvir_dhaliwal thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

View All Ages


Add a Summary

Jul 10, 2015

Parvana lives with her family in Afghanistan where the Taliban have taken over. Because of the Taliban, the girls and women are not allowed to go to school or get a job. When Parvana's father is sent to jail, Parvana must dress like a boy to earn money. Will Parvana's father ever return or will Parvana need to dress like a boy until her brother is old enough to work?

lhicke Feb 22, 2012

Parvana lives during the time of the Taliban invasion. Everything is crazy no women allowed outside without an escort, and so her mother and older sister Nooria are trapped inside. Parvana though is lucky, her dad lost a leg in a bombing and needs her support to go to the market and back. So life is just teetering along in the one room apartment with her mother, father, younger brother (Ali), younger sister (Maryam), and Nooria. Then one night Taliban soldiers come into there house and arrest her dad. Life is starting to break apart until she runs, literally, into one of her mothers old friends in the market. She visits and comes up with a plan. Parvana will have to dress as a boy and carry on her fathers work at the market. She sells the things they have but eventually they begin to run out of things to sell. Then one day a tea boy drops his cups and Parvana helps him pick them up. When she looks up into the face of the boy she gasps, this is no boy this is her old classmate Shauzia. Together they collect money digging bones and earn enough to buy trays with neck straps and goods to sell. One day she goes home and guess what her sister is going to get married. She stays with her mothers friend and then one day her father comes back. A while later she found a young woman who tells them that the town where her sister is getting married was captured by the Taliban. And that they were shooting people on the street. The book ends as she and her father go off to find her mother and siblings.


Add Notices

Feb 20, 2018

Violence: Early in the book it describes thieves getting their limbs chopped off, also a man has a string with severed hands tied to it. Since it is set in a war the Taliban can be cruel.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at my library

To Top