It seems like days, but I know it was actually weeks ago that I posted about another middle grade book about war—Playing Atari With Saddam Hussein. This one is a graphic novel, based on Deborah Ellis’s classic, The Breadwinner.
Adapted from the film version directed by Nora Twomey, the story is a familiar one. Power struggles, militarized conflict, outcomes no one particularly likes – in this case, only the strict Taliban and their thugs like the idea of limiting women so much. People who just want to live their daily lives struggle while those in power find ways to exploit their standing. No surprise there.
Parvana has to disguise herself as a boy in order to be able to provide for her family, and while the disguise allows her some freedoms she doesn’t have otherwise, it also brings complications – fear of bullies with guns, for one thing. With her father jailed for having forbidden books, her life and that of the rest of her family is trapped in survival mode.
Having this in graphic novel form will appeal to a lot of young readers, especially those who are interested in social justice issues. It’s a view into another world, and that’s an especially good thing for those of us with the advantages of technology and development and education and relatively safe daily lives.
The Breadwinner: a graphic novel – based on the book by Deborah Ellis and adapted from the film by Nora Twomey