Breadwinner, The

Breadwinner, The

Hide Details By Deborah Ellis
Categories: Children's Fiction
Series: Breadwinner Series
Paperback : 9781554987658, 176 pages, Groundwood Books Ltd
May 2015


"All girls [should read] The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis." — Malala Yousafzai, New York Times

The first book in Deborah Ellis’s riveting Breadwinner series is an award-winning novel about loyalty, survival, families and friendship under extraordinary circumstances during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.

Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. Parvana’s father — a history teacher until his school was bombed and his health destroyed — works from a blanket on the ground in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. One day, he is arrested for the crime of having a foreign education, and the family is left without someone who can earn money or even shop for food.

As conditions for the family grow desperate, only one solution emerges. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy, and become the breadwinner.

The fifteenth anniversary edition includes a special foreword by Deborah Ellis as well as a new map, an updated author’s note and a glossary to provide young readers with background and context. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Parvana’s Fund supports education projects for Afghan women and children.



  • Long-listed, OLA Golden Oak Award 2003
  • Commended, YALSA PPYA 2003
  • Long-listed, SYRCA Diamond Willow Award 2003
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award 2003
  • Long-listed, Young Jury Awards 2004
  • Winner, Hackmatack Award 2003
  • Winner, Swedish Peter Pan Prize 2003
  • Winner, Middle East Book Award 2002
  • Short-listed, Trillium Book Award 2001
  • Long-listed, OLA Red Maple Award 2001
  • Winner, Baia delle Favole Prize for ages 9–12 2003