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The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

ORSIG Reading List
Recommended reading list from a homeschooling e-mail group.

Authors E-F
Alphabetical index to ORL recommended books authors E-F.

Middle Grades
ORL recommended books for middle grade readers.

ORL 2002 Featured Books
ORL featured book reviews from 2002.

4th Grade Level
ORL recommended books written at 4th grade reading level.

The Breadwinner
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: Middle Grades

Buy The Breadwinner from

ISBN: 0888994192, Published by Groundwood Books, 170 pages.
ISBN: 0888994168, Published by Groundwood Books, 170 pages.
Audio Cassette
ISBN: 0807209732, Published by Listening Library, unabridged.

The Breadwinner takes place in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The book takes place during the Taliban’s rule. The main character is a girl. Her name is Parvana. When her father is arrested, she has to cut her hair, get into boy’s clothes, and work in the marketplace in order to get money for her family. When she is working in the marketplace, she meets a friend from school named Shauzia, who also works in the market. The work together and sell cigarettes.

Parvana’s mother goes to Mazar-e-Shariff, which was not yet under the control of the Taliban. A few weeks later, Parvana’s father returns from prison. A few weeks after that, the Taliban conquer Mazar-e-Shariff and massacre the inhabitants. Since Parvana’s mother is still there, Parvana and her father go to Mazar-e-Shariff to find her mother.

I liked The Breadwinner because is was accurate and it was well-written. I would recommend reading The Breadwinner to anyone who would like to learn about life in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Alex Kohan

Related Resources

Additional ORL titles by Deborah Ellis


Off-site links to related topics.

Deborah Ellis
Official author site.

The Breadwinner: A Prereading WebQuest Activity for Grades 4-7
"A Reading or Social Studies activity for understanding Afghanistan."

©2000-2004 Barbara L.M. Handley
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