Deborah Ellis biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Deborah Ellis.

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Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis Biography

Deborah Ellis has been all over the world. And she hasn't just visited places, she's done things. Big things. She went to Pakistan to help at an Afghan Refugee Camp; she went to Israel and the Ghaza Strip to talk with Israeli and Palestinian children; and she went to Malawi and Tanzania to spend time with children orphaned by AIDS. Deborah has written books that draw on each of these experiences - some fiction and some non-fiction - and at the heart of her work is her deep passion for peace and her unwavering support of children.

She says it best: "It has been a real privilege for me to sit with people in many parts of the world and learn how their lives have been drastically altered by war or disease, and how they try to remain kind in spite of it all. This has taught me how fundamentally alike we all are."

Deborah was born in Cochrane, Ontario and grew up in Paris, Ontario. She was a loner who spent much time reading and using her imagination. By the time she was seventeen, she was a political activist and, after graduating from high school, moved to Toronto to work in the Peace Movement and the Women's Movement.

Her first book, Looking For X (published in 1999), is set in Toronto and is about an eleven-year-old girl dealing with twin autistic brothers, a run-in with skinheads, and a false accusation of school vandalism. It won the Governor General's Award in Canada (similar to the Carnegie Medal).

It was after writing this book that she began to travel extensively and hone her unique skill for writing about the intersection of global issues and children, which first came to fruition in The Breadwinner Trilogy, an award-winning series about three different girls living under the Taliban regime: The Breadwinner (2001), Parvana's Journey (2003) and Mud City (2004). Because each book focuses on a different girl, they easily stand alone.

Her other books include Three Wishes: Israeli and Palestinian Children Speak (2004, nonfiction), in which she chronicles the stories of 20 Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children whom she interviewed in 2002; and The Heaven Shop (2004), a novel for young adults about an AIDS orphan in Africa who searches for her siblings.

She donates almost all the proceeds from her books to causes such as "Women for Women in Afghanistan" and UNICEF.


In Her Own Words
Writing books is something I have always wanted to do, and have tried to do, since I was twelve years old, growing up in Paris, Ontario. Writing helps me to understand the world, and myself. While the work of writing is often frustrating and difficult, it can also be glorious and exciting.

As soon as high school was over, I got involved in the movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Political activism for peace and social justice forms a large part of my life. My books reflect the heroism of people around the world who are struggling for decent lives. It has been a real privilege for me to sit with people in many parts of the world and learn how their lives have been drastically altered by war or disease, and how they try to remain kind in spite of it all. This has taught me how fundamentally alike we all are.

This biography was last updated on 10/29/2010.

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Books by this Author

Books by Deborah Ellis at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

No Safe Place
No Safe Place

by Deborah Ellis

No Safe Place is a novel of high adventure and heart-stopping suspense by a writer at the height of her powers.
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Deborah Ellis but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Maria Virginia Farinango

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    Maria Virginia Farinango was born in a small Quichua community near the town of Otavalo in the Ecuadorian Andes. The Queen of Water, a novel she co-wrote with Laura Resau, is closely based on the true story of ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    No Safe Place

    Try:
    The Queen of Water
    by Maria Virginia Farinango

  • Faïza Guène

    Faïza Guène

    The child of Algerian immigrants, Faïza Guène grew up in the public housing projects of Pantin, outside Paris. As told in the novel Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow, she was only 19 when she began writing in order to evoke the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    No Safe Place

    Try:
    Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow
    by Faïza Guène

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