Author Spotlight

Continuing a Story

I wrote and published The Breadwinner books over ten years ago. The books, about girls named Parvana and Shauzia living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, were based on stories I’d heard in the Afghan refugee camps. The books were an opportunity for me to share the incredible courage of the Afghan people with others.

Since the Taliban were forced from power, some schools in Afghanistan have been opened, some Afghan women have some of their rights respected, and some things are better in some parts of the country.

I wondered how the two girls in The Breadwinner would manage in this new Afghanistan. Under the Taliban, Parvana and Shauzia dressed as boys and roamed the streets, looking for work to keep their families from starving. Their lives were difficult and dangerous, but at least they were out in the world, moving and doing as they wished. How would they feel to be once again under an adult’s control, coming of age as young women in an environment that restricts more than it celebrates them.

My Name Is Parvana is about what happens in a land where hope has to constantly re-invent itself. For a headstrong girl like Parvana, far too used to struggle and loss, hope is represented by the clean chadors worn by the few students lucky enough to go to school, by her little sister worried more about how to get on television than about where to find clean water, and in her own brain’s ability to master the art of multiplying fractions. And when it seems like absolutely everything is lost, Parvana finds hope in her determination not to give in.
I enjoyed being with these characters again. It was a privilege to have them back in my head. I believe I am a better person for having known them.

(Royalties from Kids of Kabul go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan —


Our guest blogger today is Deborah Ellis. Deborah is the author of a number of award-winning titles for children and young adults, including the Breadwinner trilogy, A Company of Fools, The Heaven Shop, and Our Stories, Our Songs. Her most recent book is My Name is Parvana, the latest book in the Breadwinner series. Check out Deborah’s website at

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at


  1. Jeanette Larson

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. It is even more timely in light of recent violence against girls in Pakistan.

  2. Coretta Moore

    what awards the book Breadwinner won by Deborah Ellis?

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