Mitali Perkins (author); BAMBOO PEOPLE; Charlesbridge Publishing (Young Adult Fiction) $16.95 ISBN: 9781580893282
Chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection and included on IndieBoundas Summer 2010 Kidas Indie Next List, [i]Bamboo People[/i] is remarkable in its honest, poignant exploration of the everyday people involved in the conflict in Burma. Author Mitali Perkins exposes a major global issue, perhaps less known to juvenile readers, through an unassuming narration, and in doing so, creates an original work that will leave a lasting impression with readers of all ages.
Told in three sections, [i]Bamboo People[/i] features two teen narrators, Chiko and Tu Reh. Chiko is an intelligent, literate Burmese boy who is strongly opposed to the Burmese military effort, but is conscripted into the army. Tu Reh, on the other hand, the son of a respected, peaceful Karenni leader, fights for independence fueled by deep anger towards the Burmese, who burned down his familyas farm and home. While Chiko must find a way to get through his training and use his intelligence to his advantage, Tu Reh struggles with balancing his need for revenge with the integrity and values instilled in him by his family and community. The boys, whose journeys and struggles often seem to represent the average Burmese and Karenni experiences, are brought together when Chiko is put in a dangerous position that leaves him injured.
While the problems of a foreign land might not initially attract some juvenile readers, the candor and simplicity of Perkinsa writing make...