This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
This is a graphic account of 13-year-old Parvana's struggle to find her family in war-torn Afghanistan.
In the first chapter, a solitary Parvana buries her father. Her mother, sisters and baby brother are somewhere in the chaos that used to be a country. The ruling Taliban does not like women to be seen in public, so Parvana dresses as a boy. However, in this country, it is also dangerous to be a child -- dangerous because there are adults so desperate for food and money that they would sell boys and girls to the Taliban.
Parvana meets other equally unfortunate children on her journey: an orphaned baby boy, whom Parvana names Hassan; the obnoxious Asif, who has only one leg, and a dreamy nine-year-old named Leila, who believes she is impervious to landmines.
They cling to one another for comfort, and survival becomes their only priority as they attempt to find food and a safe place to sleep.
Ellis interviewed women and children refugees from Afghanistan, whose stories inspired Parvana's Journey, the sequel to The Breadwinner. All royalties from the sale of this book go to Women for Women, an organization that helps women in Afghanistan.