My Name Is Parvana (Breadwinner Series )

My Name Is Parvana (Breadwinner Series )

4.7 4
by Deborah Ellis
     
 

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On a military base in post-Taliban Afghanistan, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue

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Overview

On a military base in post-Taliban Afghanistan, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan — and Parvana.

In this long-awaited sequel to The Breadwinner Trilogy, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.

As her family settles into the routine of running the school, Parvana, a bit to her surprise, finds herself restless and bored. She even thinks of running away. But when local men threaten the school and her family, she must draw on every ounce of bravery and resilience she possesses to survive the disaster that kills her mother, destroys the school, and puts her own life in jeopardy.

A riveting page-turner, Deborah Ellis’s new novel is at once harrowing, inspiring and thought-provoking. And, yes, in the end, Parvana is reunited with her childhood friend, Shauzia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this follow-up to the Breadwinner trilogy, set five years later, Ellis revisits her strong, 15-year-old heroine, now living in post-Taliban Afghanistan. The novel alternates between Parvana's struggles in an American prison (she is a suspect in an explosion at her mother's school) and flashbacks to her life before capture, first as a student at the school and then as a teacher. Though Parvana understands and reads English fluently, she refuses to speak ("She knew she could not trust them. All she could trust was herself"), silently enduring sleep deprivation and harsh interrogation. In the flashbacks, Ellis strongly sketches family tensions, including a betrayal by Parvana's sister Noori and Parvana's complicated relationship with her mother. A scene in which Parvana's discovery of an injured American soldier foils her near-escape underscores her compassion and morality. The resolution is perhaps too tidy, but Ellis succeeds in putting a human face on the headlines and the brutality of the Afghan war, while answering many questions about the fate of a heroine whose personality and force of will shine through. Ages 11–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

A Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2012

"This passionate volume stands on its own, though readers new to the series and to Ellis' overall body of work will want to read every one of her fine, important novels. Readers will learn much about the war in Afghanistan even as they cheer on this feisty protagonist." —Kirkus, starred review

"This sequel to the series is not merely an important book about the difficulty of girls' lives in war-torn, U.S.-occupied Afghanistan. It is also an example of vivid storytelling with a visceral sense of place, loss, distrust, and hope." —School Library Journal, starred review

"…Ellis succeeds in putting a human face on the headlines and the brutality of the Afghan war, while answering many questions about the fate of a heroine whose personality and force of will shine through." —Publishers' Weekly

Praise for The Breadwinner:
"Newberry Medal worthy . . . This was a fantastic read. — Washington Times

VOYA - Deborah L. Dubois
Parvana of the Breadwinner Trilogy is now fifteen. She has been taken from a bombed-out school by American soldiers and imprisoned as a possible terrorist. Her only defense is to say nothing. For days, she is silent in the face of sleep deprivation, constant questioning, and harassment. Parvana thinks about her life at the school with her mother and sisters as she waits to see what the military will do with her. Through her memories, the reader can see what life is like in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Most think girls should not be educated, and it is a constant struggle to keep the school open. They are caught between the Taliban and the foreign military, just trying to live their lives in a war-torn country. They are often threatened with violence unless they close the school. When her mother went missing, Parvana was left to run things and protect those who were left—until the threats become reality. This compelling story gives a glimpse of what life is like for those living in Afghanistan. Women of the country show courage as they try to make a better life for girls living there, in spite of threats and oppression. Parvana's strength in her imprisonment is inspiring. Although there is not a "happy" ending, there is hope. Readers of the Breadwinner series will want to read the continuation of Parvana's story. This could also be used for classroom discussion of everyday life in a country at war. Reviewer: Deborah L. Dubois
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Arrested by troops in the ruins of her school in Afghanistan, Parvana is a terrorist suspect, but she is also a victim and a survivor. This is the conclusion of Ellis's "Breadwinner" series, dealing with the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Parvana is the fifteen year old daughter of a woman who has been trying to provide education to children in their village. It is an undertaking that has brought her and her family into direct conflict with the Taliban and with village officials. As Parvana is held for questioning, she silently relives the events that have led her family to the school. Her mother had planned the school as a way to both keep education alive and provide a livelihood for herself and her staff. When her older sister is awarded an opportunity to study in the United States, Parvana steps into her role as teacher. She finds that she loves the opportunity and dreams of studying abroad herself. But gradually there is more discontent with the school and there is something being stored on the premises that worries Parvana. She soon realizes that she isn't even sure who the enemy is any more. The novel portrays the hope of the Afghans to maintain a way of life despite being caught between warring factions. It is a heartbreaking look at the cost of war on the lives of civilians, and as such, provides a balance to the military news that fills the media. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
Kirkus Reviews
In a follow-up that turns the Breadwinner Trilogy into a quartet, 15-year-old Parvana is imprisoned and interrogated as a suspected terrorist in Afghanistan. When her father's shoulder bag is searched, Parvana's captors find little of apparent value--a notebook, pens and a chewed-up copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. Parvana refuses to talk; her interrogator doesn't even know if she can speak. The interrogator reads aloud the words in her notebook to decide if the angry written sentiments of a teenage girl can be evidence of guilt. Parvana is stoic, her keen mind ever alert as she has to "stand and listen to her life being spouted back at her," a life in a land where warplanes are as "common as crows," where someone was always "tasting dirt, having their eardrums explode and seeing their world torn apart." The interrogation, the words of the notebook and the effective third-person narration combine for a thoroughly tense and engaging portrait of a girl and her country. This passionate volume stands on its own, though readers new to the series and to Ellis' overall body of work will want to read every one of her fine, important novels. Readers will learn much about the war in Afghanistan even as they cheer on this feisty protagonist. (author's note) (Fiction. 11 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—This sequel to the series is not merely an important book about the difficulty of girls' lives in war-torn, U.S.-occupied Afghanistan. It is also an example of vivid storytelling with a visceral sense of place, loss, distrust, and hope. Strong-willed Parvana, now 15, is inexplicably and stoically silent throughout her incarceration and none-too-gentle interrogation by U.S. troops. Alternate chapters take readers back through the past year during which Parvana and her family (and other beloved characters from previous books) defend their girls' school in a town hostile to the notion of female education. Although Ellis relies heavily upon readers' attachment to certain characters formed in earlier books, newcomers still get a strong sense of personality from Parvana's friends and family members. The Americans and minor Afghani figures are tossed about as caricatures, e.g., the overly suspicious commanding officer, the ignorant racist private, the volatile village men who throw rocks at girls whose head coverings have slipped. Why Parvana remains silent in U.S. custody will be difficult for many young readers to understand, but Ellis makes it easy to immerse oneself in this very foreign place, where hope thrives despite explosions and abused child brides and stonings. A must-buy title.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554982974
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Series:
Breadwinner Series
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
345,904
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Meet the Author


Deborah Ellis is the award-winning author of the international bestseller, The Breadwinner Trilogy. She lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

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