Joint winner of the South Asia Book Award, longlisted for the Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award, selected for the IRA Notable Books for a Global Society List, the Bankstreet College of Education's Best Children’s Books of the Year 2013, the USBBY Outstanding International Book List, and the CCBC Choices List
Since its publication in 2000, hundreds of thousands of children all over the world have read and loved The Breadwinner. By reading the story of eleven-year-old Parvana and her struggles living under the terror of the Taliban, young readers came to know the plight of children in Afghanistan.
But what has happened to Afghanistan's children since the fall of the Taliban in 2001? In 2011, Deborah Ellis went to Kabul to find out. She interviewed children who spoke about their lives now. They are still living in a country torn apart by war. Violence and oppression still exist, particularly affecting the lives of girls, but the kids are weathering their lives with courage and optimism: "I was incredibly impressed by the sense of urgency these kids have — needing to get as much education and life experience and fun as they can, because they never know when the boom is going to be lowered on them again."
The two dozen or so children featured in the book range in age from ten to seventeen. Many are girls Deb met through projects funded by Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (www.cw4wafghan.ca), the organization that is supported by royalties from The Breadwinner Trilogy. Parvana’s Fund provides grants toward education projects for Afghan women and children, including schools, libraries and literacy programs.
All royalties from the sale of Kids of Kabul will also go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
About the Author
Deborah Ellis has won the Governor General’s Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She is a member of the Order of Canada and has been named to the Order of Ontario.
She is best known for her Breadwinner Trilogy, set in Afghanistan and Pakistan — a series that has been published in twenty-five languages, with $2 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International.
Read an Excerpt
I used to think if only I could read, then I would be happy. But now I just want more! I want to read about poets and Afghan history and science and about places outside Afghanistan. Faranoz, 14
When I miss my family, so much that my chest hurts and everything hurts, I try to calm myself by thinking of my future, because I think it could be a good future, if no one comes in and starts killing again. Look at what I’ve learned in just a few years! When I first came here [to this school for child workers] I was afraid all the time. I had too many dark, sad things in my head. I thought there would never be room there for anything else. Then I learned how to read and write and even to use the computer. So now I have many good things to think about. Aman, 16
I try to remember that my house is not me. Where we live it is very, very bad. We have no clean sheets, no beds. We sleep on the floor. We try to keep it clean but there is mud when it rains and dust when there is no rain. We have no electricity, just a little oil lamp that we light to do our homework, but we must work quickly and not waste the oil. Sharifa, 14
I live with my grandfather and grandmother. We are really poor. My grandparents don’t work. We have no money for soap, so I am often dirty and wearing dirty clothes. I would like to be better dressed, so when people see me coming they will think, “Oh, this boy is important, look at his clothes, he must be somebody special.” No one will think that of me if I don’t have nice clothes. Mustala, 13
I was young when my father left, maybe five or six. Sometimes when I’m playing football with my friends, a man will stop and watch us or will walk by really slowly, and I think, “Maybe that’s my father.” I play extra well then, so that he’ll take me away with him. He won’t want a son who is no good at football. Mustala, 13
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