The Breadwinner Trilogy

By Debora Ellis

Book Description from Barnes and Noble

Debora Ellis’ trilogy has been a phenomenal success, both critically and commercially. Now young readers can experience this entire epic story in one volume. The Breadwinner is eat in Afghanistan, where 11-year-old Parvana lives with her family in a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul. When her father is arrested for the drive of having a foreign education, the family is left with no money or resources. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy and become the breadwinner. In Parvana’s Journey, her father has died and the family has scattered. Parvana, now 13 years old, is determined to find them. Again masquerading as a boy, she joins a group of wandering children, all refugees from war, who exist mainly on courage. In Mud City, the focus shifts to 14-year-old Shauzia, who lives in the Widow’s Compound in Pakistan and dreams of escaping to a new life in France. Debora Ellis uses simple, compelling language, memorable characters, and a wealth of imaginative detail in this wrenching look at the human cost of war that is also a surprisingly hopeful story of survival.

My thoughts…

The Breadwinner trilogy is an important read to young children all over the world. For children living in first world countries, grasping the concept of living in a war-torn country is very difficult to understand or fathom. Most children nowadays seem to have a sense of entitlement that prevents them from fully sympathizing with less-fortunate children around them. Reading The Breadwinner trilogy is surely to become an eye opener to children and their parents alike. If you have never lived in a war-torn country, this book will definitely give you plenty to think about and be thankful for.

In a gist…

Extramarital Love/Relationship



  • The overall feel of the books is very sad and heart wrenching. The struggles of families and children are displayed in great detail. Children have no hope, their dreams are continuously crushed, and are in a long struggle for survival.
  • In the first book of the trilogy, The Breadwinner, Parvana sees a public prosecution where men accused of stealing have their hands chopped off by the Taliban.
  • In the second book of the trilogy, Parvana’s Journey, Parvana’s father dies of illness and deteriorating health.
  • Also in the second book, Parvana finds a baby under the rubbles of a bombed house crying while his mother lays dead beside him.





Degradation of Family/Islamic Values

  • Parvana’s older sister is mean to her and continuously puts her down. Her mother also seems to be going through some sort of war-related depression and treats her poorly. Parvana at the beginning of the book states that she hates her sister and she would hate her mother too if she weren’t her mother.
  • In Parvana’s Journey, the kids steal food from a man out of starvation after the man treats them unfairly.
  • Also in Parvana’s Journey, Parvana and another girl start putting some of their food in the ground to “feed” earth believing that feeding the ground would prevent land mines from hurting them.

Positive messages

The Breadwinner is a true masterpiece depicting a little girl’s journey through Afghanistan during war. Each page of the trilogy portrays examples of courage, strength, and resilience. The books demonstrate invaluable messages of empowerment, empathy, and strength present.

Final Verdict

The Breadwinner‘s Parvana has left many readers in awe over her strength and resilience. Reading about the power and resilience of a girl in a war-struck country is sure to be of inspiration to girls around the world. Parents should be aware that the acts of the Taliban in the book are merely those of their ideologies and is far from the teachings of Islam. Children should be able to distinguish between the Taliban ideologies and those of the true Islam. The girls in the book are taught that they are not allowed to leave their homes without a man (Mahram), that they are not allowed to be educated, or work outside their homes. The Taliban also chops of the hands of thieves in public persecutions. A long discussion of Islam’s standing on such behaviours is encouraged in Muslim households.

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