Bamboo People

Mitali Perkins, Author
Mitali Perkins, Charlesbridge, $16.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-58089-328-2
Reviewed on: 06/14/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-0399-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-0402-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-0400-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-0401-6
Open Ebook - 334 pages - 978-1-282-60053-9
Open Ebook - 138 pages - 978-1-60734-501-5
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-60734-227-4
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-58089-329-9
Open Ebook - 281 pages - 978-1-306-38773-6
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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)
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