ASK: The Breadwinner

Today students from Niles High School are interviewing Deborah Ellis, a Canadian author writing about tough international issues such as AIDS, poverty and war. The students read the book The Breadwinner, and followed the ASK process to prepare questions for the videoconference. Other books include: Parvana’s Journey, Mud City, Looking for X, The Heaven Shop, Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak, A Company of Fools.

Ms. Ellis shared with the students what Afghan food is like, what it’s like to live in an orphanage, and stories of her experiences in Afghanistan & how they were built into the story.

Some intriguing questions:

  • Did you ever want to give up on writing and what did you do?
  • Why does her father call her by a nickname?
  • Did you ever meet someone in Afghanistan who was beaten?
  • Why did you choose not to have Parvana and the window woman meet?
  • If you were to sum up your writing experience in one sentence, what would it be?
  • If you could go back, are there any parts to the book you’d change?
  • Has writing this book impacted you in any way?
  • What would have happened if Parvana’s dad died?
  • What was the most interesting job you saw in Afghanistan?
  • Is Afghanistan really like we see on TV?

A powerful learning experience for our students! It was sobering to hear the plight of women in Afghanistan. Ms. Ellis is a passionate spokesperson for their experiences and I’m sure our students have a broader understanding of the world and a greater compassion for others.

[On a sidenote, sometimes you just have to suffer through announcements and ringing bells in a videoconference. I can’t think of a good solution for that.]

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