Deborah Ellis is a Canadian author. Born in Cochrane, Ontario, she had to move several times in her childhood due to her parents' work. Ellis decided to start writing when she was 11-12 years old. When she grew up, her work and writing was mainly done by traveling and talking to others that have problems and documenting down the main things. She started to write her first book, The Breadwinner some time later. She had many jobs like an anti-war activist.
She traveled to Afghanistan in 1997 to help in refugee camps; from these interviews she wrote the four part series which includes The Breadwinner, a book about a girl named Parvana; Parvana's Journey, its sequel; Mud City, about a girl named Shauzia, Parvana's best friend; and an adult book, Women of the Afghan War. While The Breadwinner was inspired by an interview with a mother in a refugee camp, the subsequent books in the trilogy were more imaginative explorations of how children would survive.
In 1999, her young adult novel Looking for X, which follows a young girl in her day to day life in a poor area of Toronto, Ontario, was published, and received the Governor General's Literary Award.
Ellis also wrote a book with Eric Walters about the plotted terrorist attacks in Canada. The book is called Bifocal, highlighting two boys and their sides to the story about what happened. Bifocal is a book about racism and rooting terrorists in Canada.
One of her best known works is The Heaven Shop which tells of a family of orphans in Malawi, who are struggling with sudden displacement as a result of HIV/AIDS impact. The novel was written to dispel myths about HIV/AIDS and celebrate the courage of child sufferers.
In 2006, Ellis was named to the Order of Ontario.
In 2008, Ellis published Lunch with Lenin and Other Stories, a collection of short stories that explores the lives of children who have been affected directly, or indirectly, by drugs. The stories are set against backdrops as diverse as the remote north and small town America to Moscow's Red Square and an opium farm in Afghanistan.
Ellis is the recipient of the Governor General’s Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work, an ALA Notable, and the Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Book for Older Readers.
Considered one of the most popular young adult writers today, Ellis is also a philanthropist, donating almost all of her royalties on her books to such organizations as "Women for Women in Afghanistan" and UNICEF.
Later on, she wrote one of her most recent bestsellers, I Am A Taxi. I Am A Taxi talks about a boy named Diego whose family was framed unfairly for smuggling coca paste to be used for making cocaine. An accident caused Diego's family to owe the prison in which they are sentenced for 17 years so much money that the boy was so guilty he ran to get a job. He ended up in coca"pits" where the coca leaves are made into coca paste, and the story follows his adventure from there. The sequel, Sacred Leaf, talks about Diego's time with the Ricardo's (a family who helped Diego) and a giant coca leaf protest.
These are some works of Deborah Ellis:
- The Breadwinner (2001)
- Parvana's Journey
- Mud City
- My Name Is Parvana
- Women of the Afghan War
- Looking for X (1999)
- Bifocal (done with Eric Walters)
- The Heaven Shop
- Off to War
- Children of War
- A Company of Fools
- I Am a Taxi
- Sacred Leaf
- Lunch with Lenin and Other Short Stories
- True Blue (2011)
- Each Little Bird That Sings
- No Ordinary Day
- No Safe Place
- We Want You to Know: Kids Talk About Bullying
- Click (with 9 other authors)
- Profile of Deborah Ellis at the University of Manitoba Accessed October 6, 2012
- Children's Literature - Meet Deborah Ellis Accessed October 8, 2012
- The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis – review The Guardian, children's book. Accessed October 7, 2012
- The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis The Literate Mother. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of Parvana's Journey by CM magazine of the University of Manitoba Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of Mud City by CM magazine of the University of Manitoba Accessed October 7, 2012
- Deborah Ellis and CW4WAfghan PARVANA’S FUND Accessed October 8, 2012
- Skokie Public Library - About the authors Accessed October 8, 2012
- Review of Looking for X by CM magazine of the University of Manitoba Accessed October 7, 2012
- Governor General's Literature Awards: List of winners page 24. Accessed October 6, 2012
- Review of Bifocal by CM magazine of the University of Manitoba Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of The Heaven Shop by CM magazine of the University of Manitoba Accessed October 6, 2012
- Order of Ontario appointments announced 2006 Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of Lunch with Lenin and Other Stories by CM magazine of the University of Manitoba Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of Lunch with Lenin and Other Stories by the Canada's Magazine of Book News and Reviews, Quill & Quire. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Jane Addams Peace Association - Previous book award winners pages 6 and 7. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature Accessed October 7, 2012
- 2006 Notable Children's Books Association for Library Service to Children. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Children's Africana Book Awards Past Winners, Older Readers africaaccessreview.org. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Article on Quill & Quire Accessed on October 6, 2012
- I am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis openbooktoronto.com. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of I Am a Taxi by the Canada's Magazine of Book News and Reviews, Quill & Quire. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Sacred Leaf: The Cocalero Novels, review on papertigers.org. Accessed October 7, 2012
- "Secret garden". Xtra!, December 14, 2000.
- Page about Deborah Ellis' works Accessed October 6, 2012
- Page about Deborah Ellis on the website Fitzhenry & Whiteside Publishers
- The Power of One Voice Interview with Deborah Ellis, The Cooperative Children's Book Center