Activity Overview

Having students choose a favorite quote or scene from the book allows them to express which parts of the story resonated with them on a personal level. In this way, students are making a text-to-self connection that demonstrates their understanding of the characters and their development or the themes of the novel. Students can share their storyboards afterwards and have a short discussion about what the quotes mean to them.

Some students may end up choosing the same quote, but have different perspectives. This is always interesting for students to see and can open up a discussion as to how not everyone can read the same lines in the same way based on their own perspectives and personal experiences.

Examples of Quotes from The Breadwinner

“It made her angry, and since she could do nothing with her anger, it made her sad.”

"I need this girl to help me walk," her father would tell any Talib who asked, pointing to his leg. He had lost the lower part of his leg when the high school he was teaching in was bombed. His insides had been hurt somehow, too. He was often tired."

“These are unusual times. They call for ordinary people to do unusual things, just to get by.”

“We have to remember this,” Parvana said. “When things get better and we grow up, we have to remember that there was a day when we were kids when we stood in a graveyard and dug up bones to sell so that our families could eat.” "Will anyone believe us?" "No. But we will know it happened.”

“Afghans love beautiful things, but we have seen so much ugliness, we sometimes forget how wonderful a thing like a flower is.”

“They were going to turn her into a boy.”

"Most people in Afghanistan could not read or write. Parvana was one of the lucky ones. Both of her parents had been to university, and they believed in education for everyone, even girls."

"The two soldiers grabbed her father. The other two began searching the apartment, kicking the remains of dinner all over the mat. 'Leave him alone!' Mother screamed. 'He has done nothing wrong!' 'Why did you go to England for your education?' the soldier yelled at Father. 'Afghanistan doesn't need your foreign ideas!' They yanked him toward the door. 'Afghanistan needs more illiterate thugs like you,' Father said. One of the soldiers hit him in the face. Blood from his nose dripped onto his white shalwar kameez."

"Inside the room, the other two soldiers were ripping open the toshaks with knives and tossing things out of the cupboard. Father's books! At the bottom of the cupboard was a secret compartment her father had built to hide the few books that had not been destroyed in one of the bombings. Some were English books about history and literature. They were kept hidden because the Taliban burned books they didn't like."

"Mother wasn't supposed to be out of her home without a man, or without a note from her husband. 'Nooria, write Mother a note.' 'Don't bother, Nooria. I will not walk around my own city with a note pinned to my burqa as if I were a kindergarten child. I have a university degree!'"

"It would help if she could read, but the only books they had were Father's secret books. She didn't dare take them out of their hiding place. What if the Taliban burst in on them again? They'd take the books, and maybe punish the whole family for having them."

"'Are you keeping up with your studies?' Mrs. Weera asked. 'My father's parents don't believe in girls being educated, and since we're living in their house, my mother says we have to do what they say.' 'Do they mind you dressing like a boy and going out to work?'"

"'Do you really want to do this?' Nooria nodded. 'Look at my life here, Parvana. I hate living under the Taliban. I'm tired of looking after the little ones. My school classes happen so seldom, they're of almost no value. There's no future for me here. At least in Mazar I can go to school, walk the streets without having to wear a burqa, and get a job when I've completed school. Maybe in Mazar I can have some kind of life. Yes, I want to do this.'"

"If we had left Afghanistan when we had the chance, I could be doing my work!" "We are Afghans. This is our home. If all the educated people leave, who will rebuild the country?"

"She wasn't supposed to be outside at all. The Taliban had ordered all the girls and women in Afghanistan to stay inside their homes. They even forbade girls to go to school. Parvana had to leave her sixth grade class and her sister Nooria was not allowed to go to her high school. Their mother had been kicked out of her job as a writer for a Kabul radio station."

"Parvana rushed after her. She had to run to keep up with her mother's long, quick steps, but she didn't dare fall behind. There were a few other women in the street and they all wore the regulation burqa, which made them look all alike. If Parvana lost track of her mother, she was afraid she'd never find her again."

"Parvana had never been inside a prison, but she had other relatives who had been arrested. One of her aunts has been arrested with hundreds of other schoolgirls for protesting the Soviet occupation of her country. All the Afghan governments put their enemies in jail. "You can't be truly Afghan if you don't know someone who's been in prison," her mother sometimes said."

"Fetching water took a very long time. Maryam had seen nothing but the four walls of their room for almost a year and a half. Everything outside the door was new to her. Her muscles were not used to the most basic exercise. Parvana helped her up and down the steps as carefully as she'd had to help Father."

"Her anger melted when she saw her mother pick up the parcel of Hossain's clothes and put it away on the top shelf of the cupboard. Her mother always looked sad when she touched Hossain's clothes."

"Nooria covered herself completely with her chador and scrunched herself into a small ball. Young women were sometimes stolen by soldiers. They were snatched from their homes, and their families never saw them again."

At first it was the Soviets who rolled their big tanks into the country and flew war planes that dropped bombs on villages and the countryside. Parvana was born one month before the Soviets started going back to their own country. "You were such an ugly baby, the Soviets couldn't stand to be in the same country with you," Nooria was fond of telling her."

"Now most of the country was controlled by the Taliban. The word Taliban meant religious scholars, but Parvana's father told her that religion was about teaching people how to be human beings, how to be kinder. "The Taliban are not making Afghanistan a kinder place to live!" he said."

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a storyboard that identifies your favorite quote or scene in The Breadwinner. Illustrate your quote and write what it means to you.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose a favorite quote or scene from The Breadwinner.
  3. Create an image that represents this quote using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. In the description box, write the quote and at least one sentence about what this quote means to you.

Requirements: Quote or Scene, Illustration, 1-2 sentences about what it means to you.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Favorite Quote
Explain and illustrate your favorite quote from the book.
7 Points
4 Points
1 Points
The explanation of what the quote means to the student is clear and at least two sentences.
The explanation of what the quote means to the student can be understood but it is somewhat unclear.
The explanation of what the quote means to the student is unclear and is not at least two sentences.
The illustration represents the quote or explanation using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
The illustration relates to the quote or explanation, but is difficult to understand.
The illustration does not clearly relate to the quote or the explanation.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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