Bamboo People

By: Mitali Perkins

Chiko, fifteen, has been illegally conscripted into the Burmese army. While leading a mission to find a cache of Karenni rebels' weapons, Chiko steps on a land mine. Tu Reh, a sixteen-year-old Karenni boy, discovers Chiko in the jungle, and it's up to him whether this Burmese boy-this enemy-lives or dies.

ISBN: 9781580893282

JLG Release: Aug 2010


Sensitive Areas: Allusions to sexual violence,
Topics: Burma , Child soldiers , Friendship , Casualties of war , Rebel groups , Refugee camps , The Karenni ethnic group

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Awards & Honors

2011 ALA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults; IRA Teachers' Choices 2011, Advanced Readers; IRA Notable Books for a Global Society 2011; Indies Choices Young Adult Honor 2011; Children's Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Children's Choices - Best Books of 2011, Today, ages 12-14

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

With authenticity, insight, and compassion, Perkins delivers another culturally rich coming-of-age novel. Two teens on opposing sides of ethnic conflict in modern-day Burma (Myanmar) tell an intertwined story that poignantly reveals the fear, violence, prejudice, and hardships they both experience. Chiko, a quiet, studious student whose medical

With authenticity, insight, and compassion, Perkins delivers another culturally rich coming-of-age novel. Two teens on opposing sides of ethnic conflict in modern-day Burma (Myanmar) tell an intertwined story that poignantly reveals the fear, violence, prejudice, and hardships they both experience. Chiko, a quiet, studious student whose medical doctor father has been arrested as a traitor, is seized by the government and forced into military training. Chiko is groomed for guerrilla warfare against the Karenni, a Burmese minority group living in villages and refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. After he and his patrol stumble into land mines, Tu Reh, an angry Karenni and rebel fighter, must decide whether or not to save him. Tu Reh’s home was destroyed by Burmese soldiers, and he struggles with his conscience and his desire for revenge and independence. Both Chiko and Tu Reh are caught in a conflict that neither fully understands. Family, friendships, and loyalty have shaped their lives. But as young soldiers, they face harrowing situations, profound suffering, and life-and-death decisions. Both boys learn the meaning of courage. Chiko and Tu Reh are dynamic narrators whose adolescent angst and perspectives permeate the trauma of their daily lives. Dialogue and descriptions are vibrant; characters are memorable; cultural characteristics are smoothly incorporated; and the story is well paced. Perkins has infused her narrative with universal themes that will inspire readers to ponder humanitarian issues, reasons for ethnic conflict, and the effects of war. The author’s notes provide helpful background information on Burmese history and the ongoing military regime’s repression of minorities.—Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC

Horn Book

Bookish Chiko is press-ganged into the Burmese army. His faith and humanity serve him well after he’s captured by Karenni rebels and taken to a refugee camp in Thailand. Halfway through, the novel switches to the viewpoint of Tu Reh, a Karenni boy involved in Chiko's capture. Writing in a present tense that adds urgency, Perkins draws a persu Bookish Chiko is press-ganged into the Burmese army. His faith and humanity serve him well after he’s captured by Karenni rebels and taken to a refugee camp in Thailand. Halfway through, the novel switches to the viewpoint of Tu Reh, a Karenni boy involved in Chiko's capture. Writing in a present tense that adds urgency, Perkins draws a persuasive picture of contemporary Burma/Myanmar.

Junior Library Guild


• Chiko and Tu Reh have distinct, compelling voices and viewpoints. Despite their enmity, each one is a sympathetic and persuasive character, with relatable doubts, fears, and hopes.
• Though Mitali Perkins deals with grave subject matter, her writing is never heavy-handed. She masterfully shows rather than tells what is

• Chiko and Tu Reh have distinct, compelling voices and viewpoints. Despite their enmity, each one is a sympathetic and persuasive character, with relatable doubts, fears, and hopes.
• Though Mitali Perkins deals with grave subject matter, her writing is never heavy-handed. She masterfully shows rather than tells what is happening.
• A timely book that will introduce readers to new cultures, places, and ideas.
• The topic of child soldiers is gripping. The contrast of Chiko and Tu Reh’s lives with the lives of readers will make for interesting discussion.

Book Details

ISBN

9781580893282

First Release

August 2010

Genre

Fiction

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

272

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.4; Points: 7;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 4.2; Points: 14;

Lexile

Level 680L

Format

Print Book

Edition

-

Publisher

Charlesbridge

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Allusions to sexual violence,

Topics

Burma, Child soldiers, Friendship, Casualties of war, Rebel groups, Refugee camps, The Karenni ethnic group,

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