South Kingstown Public Library Teens

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

on April 12, 2011

Chiko is a scholar, not a soldier. He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps by going to school, finding a way to help people and (hopefully) someday marry his beautiful neighbor Lei.
However, Chiko’s life takes a drastic turn when he is unwillingly forced to serve in the Burmese Army. Trained in guerrilla warfare tactics, he is taught that it is his job to fight against the uprising minority refugee groups that are hiding along the Thai border. But he can’t help but question, what are they really fighting about?

Tu Reh has watched his be burned down and his family killed, simply because they belonged to the Karenni ethnic minority. He is now in hiding, one of the rebels fighting against the oppression of the Burmese soldiers.

After a mission gone horribly wrong in the jungle, the two boys cross paths. Suddenly, Tu Reh must decide whether to save Chiko’s life. Is Chiko different than the rest of the heartless soldiers that Tu Reh knows? Or are all Burmese soldiers the same?

Perkin’s has written a story chronicling the challenges of friendship and the struggles faced by those in modern day Burma.

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