”All girls should read The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis.” Malala Yousafzai.
This novel centres around eleven-year-old Parvana and her family, who live in one room of a crumbling, bombed out apartment block in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her father was a history teacher before he was injured and would tell Parvana stories of their country’s past whilst selling goods from his mat in the marketplace.
When he catches the eye of Taliban soldiers for being in the market with a girl, and for having a foreign education, they arrest him, leaving his family scared and unable to provide for themselves.
Finally, in desperation, Parvana disguises herself as a boy so she can go out in public without a male escort to buy food and become the family’s breadwinner.
Absolutely stunning. Drawn from the firsthand experiences of people in Afghan refugee camps collected by Deborah Ellis, it is sensitively written to give readers a true insight into the lives of children living under such regimes. It highlights how normal the children’s lives are in some ways – having to do chores and be nice to your siblings, and how abnormal in others.
Although the terrors of life under the Taliban as human rights are oppressed are highlighted, they are finely balanced against the ideals of hope, courage and the determination to make a better life for yourself and your family.
The atmospheric artwork is adapted colour stills from the upcoming animated film directed by Nora Twomey, released in the U.K on 25th May 2018.
This would make a thought-provoking read for anyone aged 10+ and is sure to elicit a lot of discussion.
*Many thanks to Oxford Children’s Books for sending me this title to review*