Deborah Ellis in Renaissance, Florida, 2011.
August 7, 1960 |
Much of her work as a writer has been inspired by her travels and conversations with people from around the world and their stories. She has held many jobs advocating for the peace movement and the anti-war movement.
She travelled to Pakistan in 1997 to interview refugees at an Afghan refugee camp. From these interviews, she wrote The Breadwinner series, which includes The Breadwinner (2001), a book about a girl named Parvana, Parvana's Journey (2002), its sequel, Mud City (2003), about Shauzia, Parvana's best friend, and My Name is Parvana (2011), the final book in the series. While The Breadwinner was inspired by an interview with a mother and a girl who disused herself as a boy in a refugee camp, the subsequent books in the series were more imaginative explorations of how children would survive.
One of her best known works is the 2004 book The Heaven Shop, which tells of a family of orphans in Malawi who are struggling with sudden displacement as a result of the HIV/AIDS impact. The novel was written to dispel myths about HIV/AIDS and celebrate the courage of child sufferers.
In 2006, she wrote the best-seller, I Am a Taxi, which tells the story of a Colombian boy named Diego whose family was accused of smuggling coca paste, which is used to produce cocaine. After an accident causes Diego's family to owe money to the prison in which they are incarcerated in, the boy must earn them money. He ends up in the coca "pits" where the coca leaves are made into coca paste, and the story follows his adventures from there. The sequel, Sacred Leaf, is about Diego's time with the Ricardos (a family who helped Diego) and a giant coca leaf protest.
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 of Canada to Moscow's Red Square to an opium farm in Afghanistan.
In 2014, she published Moon at Nine, a YA novel based on the true story of two teenage girls who are arrested and thrown in prison in Iran, a country where homosexuality is punishable by death.
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.
Ellis is a philanthropist, donating almost all of her royalties on her books to such organizations as "Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan" and UNICEF. Due to this work, she has been threatened by the Taliban.
These are some of the works of Deborah Ellis:
- Looking for X (1999)
- Women of the Afghan War (2000)
- The Breadwinner (2001)
- A Company of Fools (2002)
- Parvana's Journey (2002)
- Mud City (2003)
- The Heaven Shop (2004)
- I Am a Taxi (2006)
- Click (with David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Roddy Doyle, Nick Hornby, Margo Lanagan, Gregory Maguire, Ruth Ozeki, Linda Sue Park, and Tim Wynne-Jones, 2007)
- Jakeman (2007)
- Bifocal (with Eric Walters, 2007)
- Sacred Leaf (2007)
- Lunch with Lenin and Other Stories (2008)
- Off to War (2008)
- We Want You to Know: Kids Talk About Bullying (2009)
- No Safe Place (2010)
- My Name is Parvana (2011)
- No Ordinary Day (2011)
- True Blue (2011)
- The Cat at The Wall (2014)
- Moon at Nine (2014)
- Profile of Deborah Ellis, University of Manitoba. Accessed October 6, 2012
- Meet Deborah Ellis, Children'sLit.org. Accessed October 8, 2012[dead link]
- The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis – review, The Guardian. Accessed October 7, 2012
- The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, The Literate Mother. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of Parvana's Journey, CM Magazine, University of Manitoba. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of Mud City, CM Magazine, University of Manitoba. Accessed October 7, 2012.
- About the authors, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, Illinois. Accessed October 8, 2012[dead link]
- Review of Looking for X, CM Magazine, University of Manitoba. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Governor General's Literature Awards: List of winners page 24. Accessed October 6, 2012[dead link]
- Review of The Heaven Shop by CM magazine of the University of Manitoba Accessed 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
- Review of Bifocal, CM Magazine, University of Manitoba. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Review of Lunch with Lenin and Other Stories, CM Magazine, 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
- Order of Ontario appointments announced 2006 Accessed October 7, 2012[dead link]
- Previous book award winners, Jane Addams Peace Association, pp. 6–7. Accessed October 7, 2012.
- Prize History, Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature. Accessed October 7, 2012
- 2006 Notable Children's Books, Association for Library Service to Children. American Library Association. Accessed October 7, 2012
- Past Winners, Older Readers, Children's Africana Book Awards. Accessed October 7, 2012[dead link]
- Article on Quill & Quire Accessed on October 6, 2012
- "Another disgraceful stigma on the face of the Taliban!". www.rawa.org. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
- Page about Deborah Ellis' works Accessed October 6, 2012[dead link]