Bamboo People

By Mitali Perkins
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Charlesbridge Publishing, (7/1/2010)
Language:English



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Junior Library Guild Selection

Summer 2010 Indie Next Pick


Bang! A side door bursts open.

Soldiers pour into the room. They're shouting and waving rifles.

I shield my head with my arms. It was a lie! I think, my mind racing.

Girls and boys alike are screaming. The soldiers prod and herd some of us together and push the rest apart as if we're cows or goats.

Their leader, though, is a middle-aged man. He's moving slowly, intently, not dashing around like the others. "Take the boys only, Win Min," I overhear him telling a tall, gangly soldier. "Make them obey."


Chiko isn't a fighter by nature. He's a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family's home and bamboo fields. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion as each boy is changed by unlikely friendships formed under extreme circumstances.

This coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma. Narrated by two teenagers on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of the many ethnic minorities in Burma, Bamboo People explores the nature of violence, power, and prejudice. (added by author)
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"Bamboo People"
By Mitali Perkins

Average Rating:

This book has not been rated


November's BB Book Club Book Pick:

The Paying Guests
The Paying Guests
By Sarah Waters

 
 
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Publishers Weekly Review

Perkins (Secret Keeper) pulls back a curtain on the current conflict in Myanmar (formerly Burma) in this tensely plotted portrait of teens caught in the crossfire. The novel is narrated in two parts, the first by Chiko, a son of Burmese intellectuals who hopes to become a teacher. Perkins sets a chain reaction in motion when Chiko answers an advertisement looking for educators, only to be conscripted into the Burmese army, where an unlikely friendship alters the course of his life even more drastically. Perkins seamlessly blends cultural, political, religious, and philosophical context into her story, which is distinguished by humor, astute insights into human nature, and memorable characters. Teenage Tu Reh, a Karenni (one of the nation’s ethnic minorities), narrates the second half, which begins when he and his father find an injured Burmese soldier (whose identity is instantly apparent), presenting an equally nuanced view from the perspective of the supposed enemy. As Chiko and Tu Reh wrestle with prejudices of culture and class, Perkins delivers a graceful exploration of the redemptive power of love, family, and friendship under untenable circumstances. Ages 11–14. (July)

Review
"Gives readers a glimpse into what it means to be a hero." -- Teri Lesesne

"Elegant storytelling." -- Bruce Wishart

"Resonates with universal themes of honor and friendship." -- Linda Griset

--Librarians and Bloggers (added by author)




Well-educated American boys from privileged families have abundant options for college and career. For Chiko, their Burmese counterpart, there are no good choices. There is never enough to eat, and his family lives in constant fear of the military regime that has imprisoned Chiko s physician father. Soon Chiko is commandeered by the army, trained to hunt down members of the Karenni ethnic minority. Tai, another "recruit," uses his streetwise survival skills to help them both survive. Meanwhile, Tu Reh, a Karenni youth whose village was torched by the Burmese Army, has been chosen for his first military mission in his people s resistance movement. How the boys meet and what comes of it is the crux of this multi-voiced novel. While Perkins doesn t sugarcoat her subject coming of age in a brutal, fascistic society this is a gentle story with a lot of heart, suitable for younger readers than the subject matter might suggest. It answers the question, "What is it like to be a child soldier?" clearly, but with hope. --Kirkus Reviews
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Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata, India and immigrated at age seven to the United States with her family. Her award-winning books for young readers include Monsoon SummerRickshaw GirlSecret Keeper, and the First Daughter books. Mitali speaks frequently about the transforming power of stories as well as growing up between cultures. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband, sons, and Labrador retrievers.



Author-Danielle Trussoni
Author of Bamboo People
11. They say every book written is the author telling a personal philosophy. What personal philosophy are you trying to get across?
Every choice leads to another, and the so-called “small” ones pave the way for big life-changers. So choose wisely.




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