Bamboo People


With his father imprisoned by the Burmese government, Chiko must take care of his mother. The government soldiers are turning every boy into a conscript to fight the Karenni, so it was getting harder. Reluctantly, his mother agrees to let Chiko go to the city to take a test for teachers. In an instant, their worst fears come true: it was a government trick and Chiko is loaded into a truck and taken off to training deep in the jungle. Chiko befriends Tai, a homeless boy who has been living on the streets. When Chiko takes Tai's place on a special mission, he loses his leg on a mine. During a scouting mission, Tu Reh's father finds Chiko. Tu Reh, remembering the horrors the Burmese have brought on his family, is angry when his father suggests that he carry the boy to a doctor. This is not what a Karenni warrior does!

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Intriguing characters and ongoing suspense will keep readers of all ages turning the pages until well after bedtime.

Content Awareness Factors:

Absolutely none!

Parent Reaction

Wow! I devoured this book. It is an incredible story on so many levels. Although Chiko and Tu Reh are fictional characters, these are young men who could easily be "real" classmates for our children. Although the backdrop for the story is the civil war within Burma, the author does an exceptional job of bringing forward the dangers and realities without emphasizing the gore and blood. This is a book that kids and adults can enjoy independently or together.

Type of Book:
This middle grade novel introduces readers to life in Burma and expands our understanding of what life is like for kids in other cultures.
Educational Themes:

There is lots to explore in Bamboo People. There are obvious themes of family, friendship, and human rights. You might also explore the Karenni culture more, as well as the value of education in society. There are several pivotal female characters in the book, and a discussion about patriarchal society and expectations could create an interesting dialogue.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
12 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy! This is a perfect selection to read yourself or enjoy in a book club setting.

Title Bamboo People
Author Mitali Perkins
Publisher Charlesbridge © 2010
ISBN 9781580893282
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.95
Genres Family, Friendship, Historical Fiction, War, Asia | Asian People
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Other Reviews:

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