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Thursday, 1 November, 2001, 10:08 GMT
Children's book on Taleban published
The novel portrays survival in a war-torn Kabul
A children's book about life under Afghanistan's Taleban regime has been published.

The novel, by Canadian author Deborah Ellis, tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old Afghan girl, and her struggles to avoid beatings, bombings and starvation.

We owe it to our children to be honest about the world

Deborah Ellis, author
Oxford University Press, the book's publishers, said that the book was written before the current conflict began and was intended for publication later this year or early in 2002.

But the company said it had been so inundated with enquiries from parents, teachers and librarians that it had decided to bring publication forward.


"The Breadwinner is a powerful depiction of life under the Taliban regime, told honestly and directly, in a way children will really understand," the publishers said.

The novel is aimed at nine to 12 year olds and depicts Parvana's struggle to gather food for her starving family.

Woman in Kabul
Under the Taliban women must be covered in public
The heroine of the book has to masquerade as a boy to be able to leave the home - because the Taleban say that women must stay at home unless accompanied by a male relative.

The Afghanistan portrayed in the book is already devastated by war.

"Bombs had been part of Parvana's whole life.

Refugee camps

"Every day, every night, rockets would fall out of the sky, and someone's house would explode," reads a passage in the book.

Ms Ellis, who is a counsellor in Toronto, has paid many visits to refugee camps in Pakistan during Afghanistan's 20 years of conflict.

In a statement, she said: "We owe it to our children to be honest about the world and to provide them with material written specially for them.

The Oxford University Press expects heavy demand for the novel.

"Our reps at bookstores told us there has been enormous demand for books like this to help parents explain to their children what they were seeing on television," said marketing manager Catherine Stokes.

Deborah Ellis, author of 'The Breadwinner'
"It is a very compelling story"
See also:

22 Oct 01 | Arts
Taleban book tops US list
17 May 01 | South Asia
Taleban shuts more Afghan schools
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