Each year I read Deborah Ellis' The Breadwinner with my fifth grade book club kids. And nearly every year that is the book they choose as their favorite one we discuss.
I always encourage them to continue reading the series themselves, and show them Parvana's Journey and Mud City, also by Ellis.
Despite the fact that the fourth book has been out for over a year AND my book club students always ask how things end for Parvana, I have held off reading it, waiting for just the right day.
Over the summer I read The Breadwinner aloud to my girls before bed. What they resisted at first, they became totally engaged in. And of course, like my students, wondered about sequels. Middle Sister was able to discern from reading synopses of the second and third books that she didn't need to read them, but the fourth book is one that she requested to read.
Trying to keep one step ahead of her, I picked it up the other night.
Although it has been years since I read Parvana's Journey or Mud City, my yearly refresher of The Breadwinner has kept me thinking about this story.
As the book begins, Parvana has been arrested, or captured. It took me a while to get things figured out, but I quickly determined that Parvana is refusing to speak to the people that have taken her.
As Parvana sits in silence in a cell, parts of her past are remembered. She and her mother and sister Maryam are together, running a school for girls. Nooria has gone to New York to attend college. Men have objected to the school.
As the story nears the end, Parvana's most recent struggle and how she came to be in prison are revealed.
Shauzia and Parvana planned to meet at the Eiffel Tower in Paris twenty years after parting in The Breadwinner. Life has been full of twists and turns for both of them. Their reunion is not what the planned, but Ellis has written an amazing book about Parvana (and I hoped not totally closed the door on adding another book in this series).