Synopses & Reviews
Even though Valli spends her days picking coal and fighting with her cousins, life in the coal town of Jharia, India, is the only life she knows. The only sight that fills her with terror is the monsters who live on the other side of the train tracks the lepers. When Valli discovers that that her aunt” is a stranger who was paid money to take Valli off her own familys hands, she leaves Jharia and begins a series of adventures that takes her to Kolkata, the city of the gods. Valli finds that she really doesnt need much to live and is very resourceful. But a chance encounter with a doctor reveals that she has leprosy. Unable to bear the thought that she is one of the monsters she has always feared, Valli rejects help and begins an uncertain life on the street.
"Ellis (the Breadwinner trilogy) again brings an individual humanity to newspaper headlines. Giving voice to an orphan girl living on the streets of Calcutta unaware of her leprosy, Ellis turns a potentially unpalatable subject into a fresh and compelling story that focuses on Valli's spirited personality and sly cleverness. Valli runs away from her poverty-stricken home in the coal town of Jharia, India, when she learns that she is not a true member of the family she lives with. In Calcutta, she learns to survive by 'borrowing' what she needs, be it blankets, money, or food. Quick, intelligent, and fearless, Valli is content living day to day until she meets a doctor who takes her for treatment to the hospital, where she finds herself among the 'monsters' she feared most in Jharia leprosy-stricken, disfigured people. Refusing to acknowledge she is one of them, she escapes back to the streets, until she finally understands she has the potential to lead a better life. Ellis's straightforward language and uncompromising depictions of Valli's unimaginably harsh and gritty world combine with believable character development to create a strong and accessible novel. Ages 9 12. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Deborah Ellis says her books reflect the heroism of people around the world who are struggling for decent lives, and how they try to remain kind in spite of it.” Whether she is writing about families living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, street children in Pakistan, the coca protests in Bolivia, or the lives of military children, she is, as Kirkus attests, an important voice of moral and social conscience.”
A lifelong small-town Ontarian born and raised in Cochrane and Paris and now living in Simcoe Deb has won the Governor Generals Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of Californias Middle East Book Award, Swedens Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Childrens Book Award, and the Vicki Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She recently received the Ontario Library Associations Presidents Award for Exceptional Achievement, and she has also been named to the Order of Ontario.
She is best known for her Breadwinner Trilogy, set in Afghanistan and Pakistan a series that has been published in seventeen countries, with more than one million dollars in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International. Her recent young adult novel, No Safe Place (which has so far received starred reviews in Quill and Quire, Kirkus and School Library Journal), follows three teenagers who flee desperate situations in their home countries and make a perilous journey across the English Channel to seek new lives in England.