Parvana – a graphic novel
Allen & Unwin, 2018
80pp., graphic novel, RRP $A19.99
In 2000, Canadian author Deborah Ellis told the story of Parvana, an 11 year old girl who living in Kabul, Afghanistan with her mother Fatana, her father, her older sister Nooria, and two younger siblings, Maryam and Ali when Taliban soldiers enter her house and arrest her father for having a foreign education and beginning a fascinating, intriguing, award-winning series of books which include Parvana’s Journey , Shauzia and Parvana’s Promise that shone a spotlight on the conditions of women and girls in Afghanistan that continues to this day.
As a series it is an amazing, true-to-life story of a young girl living in circumstances that the rest of the world knew little about but which has now led to the establishment of international organisations which support not only Afghan women but the recognition and provision of education for girls in male-dominated countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a story, it is one of courage, resilience, determination and grit that is inspirational as well as educational. So many young girls that I know who have read this have commented about how it puts their own issues into perspective.
Renamed The Breadwinner in the US, it was made into a film of the same name and now that has been adapted into graphic novel format which will enable so many more to learn about Parvana’s story and perhaps continue to read the entire series.
If this series is not on your shelves for your Year 5/6+ readers, it should be. If it is but has not circulated, perhaps it is time to promote it to a new audience. In my opinion, it is a modern classic that should be read by all as an introduction to the world beyond the Australian classroom.
NB If you are searching for the series it also has the titles The Breadwinner (1), Mud City (3) and My Name is Parvana (4)