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Burn My Heart

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  186 ratings  ·  70 reviews
The Mau Mau - name of a secret society that once struck terror into the hearts of British settlers in Kenya. An episode in history that ended in a State of Emergency, with violent and brutal acts dividing a nation. This book tells the story of how in a country riven by fear and prejudice, even best of friends can betray one another.
Paperback, 194 pages
Published July 5th 2007 by Puffin Books
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Alyse Erickson
This novel manages to not only inform the reader but also includes them within an engaging story. Beverley Naidoo does just this within the novel “Burn my Heart”. Naidoo raises very real issues within the gripping of the imagination, she includes many native words along with an index in the back to translate them allowing the reader to be fully indulged within the context and plot of the story line. Naidoo carefully uses her talent to draw the reader into a place and time of when boys who were o ...more
Gabe
Dec 08, 2014 Gabe added it
Burn My Heart follows the story of two boys, one a white settler's son, Mathew, and the other a Kenyan native who works for the white settler, Mugo. The two boys are friends at the start of the novel, but the white family allows the prejudices of other to infect their perspectives and mistrust begins to spread between Mathew's family and their employees. Mugo is in a constant moral dilemma, as he knows this land was his grandfathers, and his family made a promise to take their land back one day, ...more
SilverRaindrops
"Burn My Heart", set 1951-53, details a bloody time in Kenyan history, when white settlers took land from Africans, some of which built up a military resistance known as the Mau Mau.

The theme of this book is truly worth discussing, although I learned a lot more about it from the author's afterword than from the actual story.
Beverly Naidoo raises the interesting (and quite shocking) statistic that although people 'felt' it were more, the Mau Mau only killed 32 white people - which is not defend
...more
Lauren Richards
Burn My Heart is a novel about two boys and the friendship that evolves and the unfortunate circumstances that are caught up in the race and wealth issues of Kenya in the 1950s. The white boy is Matthew, and Mugo is a young black boy. Matthew is a very rude and bratty kid that no one really likes because of the way he treated people. Mugo is the servant of Matthew because Mugo saved Matthew form a poisonous spider and was grated work in the kitchen. During the time of whites and blacks not being ...more
Michaela George
Burn My Heart is a novel set in Kenya in the 1950’s, about two boys, Mathew and Mugo, who live on the same Kenyan land however one is white and one is black. The two boys live in a time when the whites were the richest and the blacks were very poor. However, when the Mau Mau Society begins to grow, fears rise and the friendship between Mathew and Mugo will surely be tested. The boys grow together and learn valuable lessons from one another. Even though they are really good friends, it is not an ...more
Ashley Kerns
Apr 28, 2014 Ashley Kerns rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: High School Students
Recommended to Ashley by: Myself
This book takes place in Kenya. It is the story of two little boy’s lives during the 1950’s. The story shows both perspectives of each of the boy’s lives. It switches back in fourth in a unique style. One boy is black and one boy is white. They are separated by their status and race. Mathew is white and Mugo is black. Mugo and his family are servants in Mathew’s house. The Mau Mau Rebellion takes place. They are threatening the white settlers. The natives are forced to help in the Mau Mau Rebell ...more
Leesa Savage
Burn My Heart is a novel about two boys and the friendship that evolves and the unfortunate circumstances that are caught up in the race and wealth issues of Kenya in the 1950s. The white boy is Matthew, and Mugo is a young black boy. Matthew is a very rude and bratty kid that no one really likes because of the way he treated people. Mugo is the servant of Matthew because Mugo saved Matthew form a poisonous spider and was grated work in the kitchen. During the time of whites and blacks not being ...more
Heather Langendorff
Burn My Heart is a novel set in Kenya in the 1950’s, about two boys, Mathew and Mugo, who live on the same Kenyan land however one is white and one is black. The two boys live in a time when the whites were the richest and the blacks were very poor. However, when the Mau Mau Society begins to grow, fears rise and the friendship between Mathew and Mugo will surely be tested. The boys grow together and learn valuable lessons from one another. Even though they are really good friends, it is not an ...more
Jennifer Varela
Burn my Heart by Beverley Naidoo is about a black boy and a white boy who become friends in Kenya during a time that the country was driven by war and hate. We see how they both grow as people and friends throughout the book. The whole book revolves around friendship but it’s really graphic in a way that would possibly be too explicit for younger readers. I like the fact that the author chose two characters from both sides of the story in order not to form a bias but in a way there is a problem ...more
Adam Donald
Mugo and Mathew are two boys who live on opposite ends of the social spectrum in Kenya during the Mua Mua war. Mathew is from a British family that owns a sizable piece of land in Kenya while Mugo’s family lives on this land and Mugo’s father works on the property. The two boys form an unlikely friendship and bond as the story develops. Eventually Mathew’s father discovers that Mugo’s dad is part of a revolutionary organization trying to free themselves from British rule. When this happens Mugo’ ...more
Sparkle Knight
By examining "Burn My Heart" it becomes clear that interacial friendships were hard to keep back during racisim. This suggest that even things are hard its people awas find ways to look pass their differences. “Burn My Heart “is a setback when white settlers took land from Africans. It’s the time during the Mau Mau spring that all happened in Kenya. There was a white boy, Matthew and a black boy, Mugo. The two of them are very good friends but their friendship is not easy because of their surro ...more
LouLou
http://www.compassbookratings.com/rev...
Loyalty to your friends and family, loyalty to your people, loyalty to your land, what does all of this mean for two young boys growing up in Kenya during the early 1950's? Although the characters are imagined, much of the historical facts mingled within the story are not. Enlightening as it is engaging, Burn My Heart informs readers of the Mau Mau rebellion and the state of emergency declared in Kenya in the early 1950's.


Told between the alternating persp
...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I thought that the story was pretty good and the time period very interesting but somehow I didn't become very attached to either of the two main characters. I also didn’t find the ending to be particularly satisfying, although I am sure that this is because the book is based on real historical events and stories, in reality, don’t have happy, neat endings more often than not. Burn My Heart is, however, a great book to talk about Kenya, colonialism, and other issues in, particularly because it d ...more
Guoyang
This is a historical book, it happened in 1953 to around 1960s. I do not know the exact date but it is in the time of the Mau Mau uprising. It happened in Kenya.



The main characters are Mathew, Mugo, Josiah the cook, Mathew and Mugo’s parents.

This is the plot of the story:

Mathew and Mugo are two boys living in a Kenyan farm. They were very good friends. Mugo is a boy working at the kitchen. Mathew learned lots of things from Mugo, and they played together so often that the others have to remi
...more
Richie Partington
29 December 2008 BURN MY HEART , by Beverley Naidoo, HarperCollins/Amistad, December 2008, 201p., ISBN: 978-0-06-143297-2; Libr. ISBN: 978-0-06-413297-2

"Mugo knew the story of his grandfather's adventuring spirit. When Baba was a little boy, Grandfather had gone away to Nairobi. He found work with the British army, and when a big war started between the British and Germany wazungu [white people], Grandfather went to help carry the wounded soldiers.
"However, when Mugo's grandfather was away from
...more
Rachael
VERY well-written, absorbing, and thought-provoking. Due to the subject matter (the Kenyan struggle for independence in the 1950's), I wouldn't say it's a fun read, though. Naidoo is excellent at portraying the thoughts and motivations of both a wealthy white landowner's son and the young Kikuyu kitchen servant who works for them. However, I found Mathew (the "rich kid") far less sympathetic character than Mugo, who is truly trapped in a situation over which he has NO control. The book seems to ...more
Wisteria Leigh
Burn My Heart[return][return]Burn My Heart will have you biting your nails and butterflies bumping against the walls of your stomach. This is a truthful, deeply serious and valuable contribution missing from the historical fiction stacks in school libraries. [return][return]You are the vicarious witness to the fear, prejudice and misunderstanding endured by the Kenyan people during the 1950s. After fighting alongside the British soldiers during WWII, black inhabitants were not allowed to share p ...more
Brooke
Fiction
Free Choice Burn My Heart
by: Beverly Naidoo
Pairing “Burn My Heart” is a heart felt story of two friends one black one white during the 1950s in Kenya. Both “Burn My Heart” and “Son of a Gun” share a story of friendship during a time of warfare.
Audience I would recommend this book to a teacher who is teaching the time of apartheid. A student who is interested in learning about prejudice would also like this book.
SOL WHII.14 The student will demonstrate knowledge of political, economic, soc
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Natalie Tsang for TeensReadToo.com

Eleven-year-old Matthew Grayson and thirteen-year-old Mugo are more than best friends. Together, they have adventures in the Kenyan bush with Matt's trusty dog, Duma. Kenya in the 1950s seems like the perfect playground.

There are elephants, impalas, and hyenas that live in the acres and acres of "Grayson Country," land that Matt's grandfather bought from the British government. Mugo and his family are Kikuyu, native Kenyans who have lived on the land
...more
Ali Hartlein
This novel manages to not only inform the reader but also includes them within an engaging story. Beverley Naidoo does just this within the novel “Burn my Heart”. Naidoo raises very real issues within the gripping of the imagination; she includes many native words along with an index in the back to translate them allowing the reader to be fully indulged within the context and plot of the story line. Naidoo carefully uses her talent to draw the reader into a place and time of when boys who were o ...more
Lindsey Watson
This book took place in the 1950’s in Kenya. It was about a white boy, Matthew and a black boy, Mugo. The two of them are very good friends but their friendship is not easy. The land was claimed to have been owned by the Kenyans but got overtaken due to the lack of proof. The boys remained close friends through the Mau Mau revolution. The two are not supposed to be friends because Matthew’s grandfather stole the land and his father now owns it. The two were from two very different cultures so ta ...more
Meghan Newton
Burn My Heart takes place in Kenya in the 1950’s was about two boys name Matthew and Mugo who have an uneasy friendship. While Matthew is a white boy and his father owns the land that Mugo is the kitchen toto at, the two boys are friends despite the color of their skin. There is a group called the Mau Mau who once lived on the land but since they didn’t have papers to prove it, it was over taken. Throughout the book they struggle to get their freedom and their land back. When Matthews’s friend f ...more
Madeline
Takes place in Kenya during the 1950s, at the time of the Mau Mau uprising. Don't worry if you don't know what that is - I too am a spoiled white imperialist who knows nothing about African politics. But Naidoo explains it well - the short version is that all the black people in Kenya decided it wasn't cool that the white settlers got all the land, so they went about taking it back using the time-honored diplomatic tactics of Burning Shit Down and Killing Fucking Everyone.

Here to humanize the c
...more
Emily
This was a touching story of friendship. It takes place in 1950’s Kenya where people are divided. It tells the story about two unlikely friends, a white boy who’s father owns the land that was essentially stolen from the black boys family. The two were from two very different cultures so taught each other a lot of things and had fun together. However, as the story goes on torture, family differences, and loyalties tare the two friends apart. It was devastating to see such an innocent friendship ...more
Smailing rodriguez
what i think about this book was that at first it was talking about the mau mau that is gonna come to get you.For example in my country we say the samething and is like if the little kids dont want to do something the parents say "The mau mau is gonna come to get you" and that was like to scare the little kids for they could do what they suppose to do.So i liked this book because it made me remember about when they use to say to me when i was like 2-5 years old.
Maureen Milton
Read to prepare for a conference in Fresno, this book bears similarities to Mwangi's "Mzungu Boy." Both are set in 1950s Kenya and both portray that historical struggle through the eyes of two boys, one the white son of a landholder and the other a native black Kikuyu boy.

Naidoo provides more background into the nature of The Emergency and the reasons for the Mau Mau rebellion. However, the story feels a bit cluttered with characters, all of whom add to the complex tale, but who are a bit hard t
...more
Rachel Sullivan
I found this a touching story of two young boys conflicted and confused, in a deadly historic war. The authors voice in both boys is thrilling the fear in both young boys tones are portrayed not only in words but the structure of the sentences. however for all those perspective readers I hope you are prepared for disappointment as the climax is also the end. Over all it was a good read with a few flaws that any reader would enjoy.
Maddie Sharp
Burn my Heart by Beverley Naidoo is about two boys, one black and one white, who become friends in the 50’s in Kenya. We see their love and friendship through the Mau Mau rebellion and the Kenyans struggle to reclaim their land and freedom. This book is a wonderful book that shows the true meaning of friendship. It is a graphic representation of events that could possibly too vivid for younger audiences.
Deanna
Historical fiction, Kenya, family/friendship, rebellion, prejudice/racism, international.

This is the second time I have read this book...I chose to read it again to make sure that it is worthy for the NGBS award.

This book would be perfect in a text set of Beverley Naidoo books. Usually in 7 or 8th grade, social studies teachers do a unit on Africa--this book would be great for such a unit or to help students learn about international events.

What I love about Naidoo's books is that I learn about
...more
Catie Schwartz
Mathew and Mugo are friends even though Mathew is white, and Mugo is a black employee at Mathew's house. Their friendship is tested during the time of the Mau Mau, a revolutionary group of black people in Africa who tried to take back their land from white settlers. When Mugo's family is secretly forced to join the Mau Mau, and Mathew's family begins to become more suspicious of their employees, the two friends are torn apart. A misunderstanding and unexpected betrayal divides Mugo and Mathew, a ...more
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Beverley Naidoo was born in South Africa on 21 May 1943 and grew up under apartheid. As a student, she began to question the apartheid regime and was later arrested for her actions as part of the resistance movement in South Africa. In 1965 she went into excile going to England and married another South African exile; they have two children.
More about Beverley Naidoo...
The Other Side of Truth Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa Chain of Fire Out of Bounds. Stories of Conflict and Hope.

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