Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in Kabul. Her father was once a history teacher in this capital city of Afghanistan but the building was bombed and he is sick so he now makes money for the family from a blanket in the marketplace. Parvana accompanies her father to the market where he sells miscellaneous items and he reads letters for people who cannot read or write. As they sit there together, they talk and tell stories and her father yells to the patrons, “Anything written, anything read, Pashto and Dari. Beautiful items for sale.” I thought the time that these two spent alone together was priceless. I could still hear her father calling out to the people long after I had finished reading this novel, the words had created a poetic rhythm within me.
Then it happened, they came and arrested her father. Now, the there was no one to provide income for their family. Hearing the news, Parvana takes matters into her own hands and transforms herself into a boy so she can be the breadwinner. This is just one of the many instances where we see Parvana’s determination shine through.
I enjoyed how this graphic novel can tell this story so quickly and with such powerful emotions. Using captivating illustrations inside a wide variety of text box sizes this story is wonderful. I liked the short sentences that were used and how many times some of the text boxes had no sentences at all.