The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner Study Guide

Set in Taliban-controlled Kabul, Afghanistan, Deborah Ellis's The Breadwinner follows the story of an eleven-year-old girl who, following her father's sudden arrest, disguises herself as a boy so she may leave the house and make money to support her family.

Ellis wrote The Breadwinner after spending several months in Pakistan in 1997 interviewing Afghan refugees. A dedicated anti-war campaigner and activist, Ellis created the protagonist, Parvana, in the image of the girls she met in the camps.

For The Breadwinner, Ellis received the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and was named to the Order of Ontario. Ellis went on to write three sequels: Parvana's Journey, Mud City, and My Name is Parvana. In 2017, The Breadwinner was adapted into an animated movie directed by Nora Twomey.