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review 2018-07-27 13:37
My Name Is Parvana (The Breadwinner, #4) by Deborah Ellis
My Name Is Parvana - Deborah Ellis

And with My Name Is Parvana, this amazing series comes to an end. I had an wonderful and heartbreaking experience reading this series and I would reread these books again and again for years to come. I adored all of these books. Each one has a very important story to tell. Each one is a story that must be told. All four books contain a message, a story, a lesson which we should learn about the people living in Afghanistan, especially the women.

 

Deborah Ellis did a fantastic job in researching the country of Afghanistan. She went above and beyond to bring their stories to life for Western audiences to understand the atrocities that happen there. I love her writing style so much. It's blunt. She doesn't shy away from telling you that women are being tortured, raped, and murdered constantly. And though these books contain such heavy topics, I think it's important that we read them. Not just adults, but children, too. It's important that we read and understand that these things happen in the world and from learning about these horrible acts, we can prevent them from happening in the future. These books teach us that through education, through acceptance and love and empathy, we can get to a better place and help each other to find said place. Ellis writes her characters to be such brave and loving people.

 

Seeing Parvana and how strong and brave she has become by the end of this series is so wonderful. I love how she fought so hard despite all the hardships thrown her way. In fact, so many characters in this book continue to get up and fight even if it seems hopeless. Asif, Sauzia, Mrs. Weera, Parvana, they are such amazingly strong and brave characters. So real and authentic. I admire them greatly. I won't go on about how much I love these characters because that will bring me to spoiler territory, but you should definitely read these books to find out how these characters come together to overcome all the strife surrounding their lives.

 

If you've read all the previous books, then continue on. This book gives the read hope. Not a false hope either. It's not telling you things are going to be better from this point on. It's telling you that life is cruel and messy and sometimes, you want to just give up. But if you can find the strength to keep going, it'll all be worth it. It's a fantastic series if you want to learn more about Afghanistan or the women living therein. It's a great series if you want to find just a little bit of hope out there. I highly recommend you read The Breadwinner series. They are such amazing books!

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review 2018-07-16 12:54
Mud City (The Breadwinner, #3) by Deborah Ellis
Mud City - Deborah Ellis

After reading Parvana's Journey, I decided to hop right into Mud City to see what will happen next to Parvana and her family. However, once I started to read it, I quickly discovered that this book followed her friend Shauzia, not Parvana. That's didn't deter me from reading the book, of course, because I loved Shauzia in the first book and was looking forward to her journey since last we heard from her. I just had to change my expectations of what the book was going to be about. And is was such a fantastic read! Reading these books have been a wonderful experience. I'm enjoying it tremendously. They have been heartbreaking, especially this installment for very personal reasons which I will explain momentarily. But these book have been a valuable experience throughout.

 

I'm going to start off by talking about Shauzia. This is the first time we get the story through her perspective. In The Breadwinner, we see her through Parvana's eyes. We learn that she wants to escape her life in Afghanistan by going to the sea and traveling to France. At the end of the first book, we learn that Parvana and Shauzia make a promise to meet in twenty years on top of the Eiffel Tower to know that they were able to make it out safely. In Parvana's Journey, the only mention of Shauzia we get is through the letters Parvana writes to her. We don't actually see her. So this is the first time we get to learn more about her. She is a lot more hot-headed than Parvana is. She is someone who fights hard for what she wants, not paying any mind to the consequences. Shauzia is more of a loner and a fighter than Parvana, and I wouldn't have her any other way. She makes some foolish mistakes, but she comes out the better for making them and I'm now looking forward to learning more about her and Parvana in the last book in the series! 

 

Deborah Ellis continues to write about difficult subject matters in an approachable way so that anyone, children and adults alike, can understand and empathize about the wars happening in Afghanistan. I am learning so much about what happened in Afghanistan in the past for it to be the way it is now. Although, I remember some of what happened through personal experience. I lived across the Hudson when the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed. I saw them crumble down. I saw the sky covered in the thick, black smoke. I saw people running around, trying to get their families together. I heard yelling and crying and screaming coming every which way. I was stuck in traffic for five hours in a ride that should have taken ten minutes. All of that is still fresh in my mind. So reading about that in this book, it was so hard for me... but I'm glad to see that this book didn't shy away from mentioning that terrible event. I'm glad it's being talked about and written about and taught to younger kids. That this book shows that there's good and bad everywhere. That even though what happened in New York that day still haunts and hurts a lot of us here in the States, that there are people in Afghanistan who are hurt by those same events and that they, too, want the violence and suffering to stop. Just knowing that this book is out there for kids to read and learn that not everyone is cruel gives me hope.

 

I'm going to stop now. Reading Mud City and then writing this review has made me emotional, I know, but I had to get this out. This is an amazing book. An amazing series! Please, if you have not read the first two, give them a shot. If you have, read this one, too! It's just as good as the first two. Read it to your kids, if you have any, or just read it for yourself. They are such great books and I highly recommend them.

 

And now I'm off to read the final book in The Breadwinner series. I'm a bit worried to see how everything is going to end, but there's no way I'm going to stop now. I want to know the ending and I can't wait to read My Name is Parvana.

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review 2018-07-14 14:08
Parvana's Journey (The Breadwinner, #2) by Deborah Ellis
Parvana's Journey - Deborah Ellis

After how much I adored the first book in this series, I decided to continue on with Parvana and her journey to find her family. I'm glad I did. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking, painful story about a young girl as she travels throughout Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. I'll put it bluntly, this book is a difficult read. People are dying, children are starving, and there's violence throughout so... it's not for the faint of heart. However, I highly recommend you read this book if you've read the first one and appreciated the story within.

 

Parvana is still an incredible character. In this book, she is very angry and tired and looses patience quite easily with the other children. Can you blame her? Her entire life has been nothing but strife and chaos. She's a young girl who knows war and only war. And it's getting to her. I felt so strongly for her in the first book, but I feel so much more for her in this one. She's been through so much already and you know she's only going to experience so much more pain still. Asif is a new character and I adore him, too. He starts off as a brat and, as the story continues, he's still a brat but he acts more like a brother to Parvana. He's sweet and caring, he just doesn't know how to show it. Another character that's new to the story is Leila. She is a lovely little girl with a vivid imagination who joins Parvana and Asif on their journey to find Parvana's family. She is free-spirited and so sweet; I adore her so much!

 

Ellis did a fantastic job in writing this book and creating these characters. She is bringing awareness to what happened in Afghanistan and is helping young children understand that part of the world a little more. She is urging for us to help in any way we can so that way people in Afghanistan, especially women and children, have a chance to live a life free from war and violence and starvation. I love that she wrote these books with the intention to help those in Afghanistan.

 

I love this book just as much as I love the first book in The Breadwinner series. I will continue to read the rest of this series because I want to know what is going to happen with Parvana. I have to see how her story will end. I hope she is able to find peace and happiness one day. I truly do. And I shall continue to read in order to find out! Please read this series! To learn more about our history, Afghanistan's history, and the history of many women who have lived through the war under the Taliban rule. It's a heavy read, but one well worth the weight. 

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review 2018-06-28 18:13
The Breadwinner (The Breadwinner, #1) by Deborah Ellis
The Breadwinner - Deborah Ellis

I am so happy I read this book! I know I probably should explain what the book is about before I say how I felt about it. But I'm just really excited to talk about how much I loved this book! I first heard about it on BookTube when the animated movie was coming out. When I heard what the subject matter was about, I knew that this is a book that I had to read, and I am so glad I did.

 

The Breadwinner follows a young girl named Parvana living under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. She and her family try to make the best out of a terrible situation, until one day her father is arrested by the Taliban and she, along with the rest of her family, are left to fend for themselves. Disguised as a boy, Parvana takes it upon herself to provide for her family, find her missing father, all whilst hiding from the Taliban's cruel regime. Because if they were to find out a girl was passing herself as a boy, it would be death not only for Parvana, but her entire family. 

 

Let's start off with the story itself. First off, this is a very hard-hitting book. I love it, yes, but it's not light-hearted in the least. We are reading about war. War is cold. War is violent. War is bloody. War is death. And this book displays the hard truths of war with each page you read. I love it for being as blunt as it is because we need to read about the truth. We need to know about the horrible acts that innocent men had to endure if they went against the Taliban. We need to know that women weren't allowed outside without a man, covered head to toe, and was beaten even if they looked at another man. We need to know young girls were being married off, usually to much older men, and having children whilst they were still children themselves. It's difficult to digest but it's important to know these events are happening in our world. To educate ourselves and to do something about it.

 

There's violence, abuse, starvation, and sickness that men, women, and children experience throughout the book. The violence towards women and young girls are especially prevalent. Ellis writes a story to give women and girls a voice in Afghanistan who have been abused just because of their gender. She does not shy away from giving the gritty details about what these women had to suffer through. Ellis writes a beautiful story about the heartache many families had to endure during this time period and does it in a way where the reader feels empathy and sympathy for them. It hurts to read about, but it's a necessary hurt. Her descriptions of a decrepit Kabul are vivid and devastating. Ellis did a fantastic job in bringing awareness to such issues happening in Afghanistan. And for that, I am grateful.

 

Ellis's characters are also well-written. Each one is as vivid, complex, and beautiful as the next character. Parvana, herself, is such an extraordinary character. She is only eleven-years-old yet she is willing to risk her life for her family. She wants to just have fun and go to school like any child should, but she recognizes the situation she is in calls for other actions and is more than willing to change, to do what she must in order to save herself and her family. She is strong, brave, and amazing. Everyone in her family is like that in their own way. They are just trying to live in the best way they know how. In a war-torn country, there are many people just trying to live to the best of their abilities.

 

Parvana also has a friend called Shauzia and I feel for her so much. She doesn't have as good a living situation as Parvana, and she wants to move as far away as possible. She, too, is brave and strong, but she struggles with leaving because everyone is expecting her to be there for her family... even though her family is abusive. She must come to term with either staying in Afghanistan with an abusive family or making her escape and living a good life in France. She is one of those characters that just breaks your heart and you hope that somehow, someway, they are able to make it out of their situation. I want to continue reading the series just to see what becomes of these beautiful characters.

 

There's another character that appears in the book that I'm very interested in. She only appears during a few scenes, doesn't have any dialogue, but leaves such a powerful impression and I want to know more about her. She is only known as The Woman in the Window and she occasionally threw presents down to Parvana when she was trying to earn a little bit of money. We don't know anything about her but she really is quite fascinating. I want to know more about her and I hope she appears in the other books as well. 

 

And I'm going to end it here. Honestly, I could go on and on about this book. It's absolutely amazing what Ellis has written here. I encourage everyone to read it. And once you do, go watch the movie because it's just as beautiful. I don't love it as much as the book, but it's still good. I highly recommend both! Just keep in mind that there's violence, blood, gore, and abuse. But it is important to learn this story so that, one day, things like this won't ever happen again. So, please, read this book and watch the movie. They are incredible! 

 

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. I need to know what's going to happen with Parvana and her family!

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review 2018-01-11 22:08
The Breadwinner
The Breadwinner - Deborah Ellis,Rita Wolf
Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in Kabul. Her father was once a history teacher in this capital city of Afghanistan but the building was bombed and he is sick so he now makes money for the family from a blanket in the marketplace. Parvana accompanies her father to the market where he sells miscellaneous items and he reads letters for people who cannot read or write. As they sit there together, they talk and tell stories and her father yells to the patrons, “Anything written, anything read, Pashto and Dari. Beautiful items for sale.” I thought the time that these two spent alone together was priceless. I could still hear her father calling out to the people long after I had finished reading this novel, the words had created a poetic rhythm within me.
 
Then it happened, they came and arrested her father. Now, the there was no one to provide income for their family. Hearing the news, Parvana takes matters into her own hands and transforms herself into a boy so she can be the breadwinner. This is just one of the many instances where we see Parvana’s determination shine through.
 
I enjoyed how this graphic novel can tell this story so quickly and with such powerful emotions. Using captivating illustrations inside a wide variety of text box sizes this story is wonderful. I liked the short sentences that were used and how many times some of the text boxes had no sentences at all.

 

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