Skip to main content
Deborah Ellis

KNOXVILLE — Acclaimed children’s author Deborah Ellis, known for her books on humanitarian and social justice issues, will visit the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on April 5 for a lecture and book signing.

Free and open to the public, the event begins at 7 p.m. in McClung Museum Auditorium. It is sponsored by the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature with support from Ready for the World.

Books will be available for purchase on site, and Ellis will sign books after the event.

Ellis’ books include “The Breadwinner,” about a girl who poses as a boy to help support her family in Afghanistan, and its sequels, “Mud City,” and “Parvana’s Journey.” “Off to War: Voices of Soldiers’ Children,” is based on her interviews with American and Canadian children whose military parents have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and “Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees” is based on her interviews with children whose families fled to Jordan after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In “Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak,” Ellis uses her interviews with children ages 8-18 to show the impact war has had on their lives. Her other books include “Looking for X,” “Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk about AIDS,” “I Am a Taxi” and “Sacred Leaf.”

Born in Ontario, Canada, in 1960, Ellis has said she decided to start writing when she was 11 or 12.

She describes herself as an active anti-war activist and feminist, and has worked as a mental health counselor. She has traveled the world to do interviews for her books.

Ellis’ literary honors include the Governor General’s Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work, an American Library Association Notable, the Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Book for Older Readers and the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement. In 2006, she was made a member of the Order of Ontario, a governmental award for the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field.

Ellis has donated many of the proceeds from her books — amounting to more than $1 million — to charities, such as UNICEF and Street Kids International.

The Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, housed in the School of Information Sciences in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee celebrates and promotes literature for youth. It encourages reading through outreach to children and their parents, to current and future teachers and librarians, to members of the community, and to scholars and thinkers across disciplines.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,