Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Breadwinner
By Deborah Ellis

Summary: The Breadwinner tells the story of a young girl Parvana who lives with her family in Afghanistan during the Taliban rule. Parvana lives with her parents and three siblings in a one room apartment. Parvana's father is captured by the Taliban for being an educated man. After he is sent off to prison the family is left with no one to provide for them since women are not allowed to work or be in public without a man. Parvana must cut her hair and dress as a boy in order to work in the market to help her family survive. The story shows the struggles and difficulties that Parvana must face as well as the frustrations of her family and other Afghans. 

How would you use this book?
This book provides for many activities in the classroom. The story can be used to research RAWA the women's right organization in Afghanistan. Students can then create their own campaigns to support the organization. The students could share what they learn with other classes in the school as well as send their campaign posters to RAWA. The book can also be used to look at the stereotypes that are placed on Afghans due to the Taliban. In other words, students can examine how the media's discussion of the Taliban affected views of Afghans by others.  

Domains of Social Justice Education
2) Respect for Others: The Breadwinner takes a deep look at Afghan's lives and shows how to embrace your culture and identity. The book will show students a different point of view of Afghanistan. For so many students, Afghanistan is associated with the Taliban and terrorists. Through this book students will see what it was like to live in the country during the terrible time and be able to respect the Afghan culture. 
3) Exploring Issues of Social Justice: The Breadwinner allows students to look at their own stereotypes of Afghan culture as well as see how unfair and unjust the Taliban was towards women. 
4) Social Movements and Social Change: Students will see through this book how the people of Aghanistan worked to resist the Taliban. Parvana and her friend Shauzia are examples of how some citizens used disguise to work against the Taliban. Parvana's mother and friend Mrs. Wooria start a women's rights magazine and also begin a secret school for girls. These are just a few of the ways that Parvana and her family show how to achieve social change. 
5) Taking Social Action: Through this book students can find ways to reach out to communities outside of America that are suffering from oppression and look into ways to reach out to these communities. 

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