review: My Name is Parvana

title: My Name is Parvana

author: Deborah Ellis

date: Groundwood Press, 2012

main character: Parvana

My name is Parvana is the final book in the Breadwinner series. While it feels more like Ellis is sharing an old friend with us rather than creating a new character, this book can be appreciated very much on its own. Parvana is a young girl in post-Taliban Afghanistan who had been working with her mother to provide an education for young girls. The story opens with her in the custody of American soldiers and Parvana refuses to speak to them. We live inside her memories with her as she both hides and remembers who she is. She makes little of the heroic things she has done in the past, but dreams big about what she can do in the future. The soldiers are unable to determine her motives because of her silence and it is in this silence that she maintains her dignity and strength. Parvana is not a larger than life hero in the new Afghanistan, rather she is an ordinary person who does ordinary things that make a tremendous difference to other people. The difference she makes easily becomes the difference we can all make.

War continues to rage in Afghanistan. American soldiers don’t know who to trust and many Afghans do not want traditions to change. Parvana is the story of one young woman in Afghanistan who is able to decide her own future. Her story is one of hope.

Deborah Ellis is a multi award-winning author who lives in Canada. Her fiction and non fiction books are often set in Afghanistan and a portion of the royalties from her books are donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International.

3 thoughts on “review: My Name is Parvana

  1. My daughter just finished this book today and really enjoyed it (as well as the other two books in the trilogy). We both liked that she got a real sense of what life in Afghanistan is like for girls, the issues they are contending with, etc all wrapped up in a great story


  2. This is an amazing book and part of the powerful Breadwinner Trilogy. Deborah Ellis’s work offers hope and inspiration to believe in humanity and to believe in the possibility of peace. At the NCTE conference this past week, Deborah Ellis spoke with conviction and eloquence that if we want peace, we begin by imagining peace and sharing this conviction with our readers from the youngest to the oldest.


    1. Nancy, I wish I’d known you were at ALAN! We could have met!
      Helen, I wish these books had been around when my daughter was younger. We could have read them and had interesting conversations about them.


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