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Burn My Heart

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  236 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
The Mau Mau – the 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 is an intensely personal and vivid story of two boys: one black, one white. Once they were friends even though their circumstances are very different. B
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Paperback, 194 pages
Published July 5th 2007 by Puffin
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(showing 1-30)
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Alyse Erickson
Dec 11, 2014 Alyse Erickson rated it really liked it
Shelves: classroom-books
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
Sovotchka
"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
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Wisteria Leigh
Feb 23, 2009 Wisteria Leigh rated it it was amazing
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
Natasha
Oct 08, 2015 Natasha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Burn My Heart is about two boys that live in Kenya. The problem is Mathew is white, and Mugo is black so they share an uneasy relationship. Mugo works for Mathew's father as a kitchen toto (child). Problems rise in the village when a fire starts in one of Mathew's Father's barn and many animals are killed. The next morning, Mugo's family is accused of starting the fire because they think that they are part of the growing Mau Mau rebellion which threatens British settlers so Kenyans can win back ...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
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
Sophia
Jan 08, 2017 Sophia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was very interesting. It seems very realistic in the sense that so many things seem misunderstood, and unfair. It definitely sucked me in, and allowed me to read it in one sitting!
Richie Partington
Jul 17, 2013 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
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
Ali Hartlein
Dec 03, 2013 Ali Hartlein rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
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
Brooke
Jul 30, 2013 Brooke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs678
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
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
Ashley Kerns
Apr 28, 2014 Ashley Kerns rated it really liked it
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
Meghan Newton
Apr 08, 2013 Meghan Newton rated it liked it
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
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
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
Guoyang
Dec 08, 2008 Guoyang rated it really liked it
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
LouLou
Dec 02, 2014 LouLou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Laura Walker
Dec 03, 2015 Laura Walker rated it really liked it
This story is about Matthew and Mugo two boys who are good friends. Mathew is white and Mugo is Black. Their friendship takes place in Kenya in the 1950’s. Their friendship is somewhat unusual because Mathew’s Dad owns the land that Mugo’s family lives on. There is tension because of the Mau Mau rebellion, and the fight for Kenyans to win back their land and freedom, this created conflict between the British and the Kenyan’s who work on the land. There is a fire that occurs that destroys the cor ...more
Rachael
Apr 25, 2009 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Madison Niksich
Naidoo, B (2007). Burn my heart. New York: New York. HarperCollins.

Burn my Heart is a novel about the horrible circumstances two young boys had to endure during 1950’s in Kenya. A white boy named Matthew befriends his fathers’ kitchen help, a black boy named Mugo. In times of the Mau Mau secret society, which forces labor among blacks in is almost impossible for the two boys to stay friends. Mistrust between the two families results in the boys eventually having to part ways. Although a sad book
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Erika Bowden
This is the story about two friends who live on the same Kenyan land, one being white, and the other being black. They live in a time where white means rich and black means poor. This causes the boys to have an uneasy friendship and there are many obstacles that their friendship faces. The Mau Mau are a secret society which threatened British settlers with violence as black Kenyans were trying their hardest to win their land back as well as their freedom. This historic event led to a State of Em ...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
Lindsey Watson
Nov 30, 2013 Lindsey Watson rated it really liked it
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
Sparkle Knight
Jan 10, 2014 Sparkle Knight rated it it was ok
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
Leesa Savage
Dec 04, 2014 Leesa Savage rated it it was ok
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
Moushumi Ghosh
Dec 31, 2015 Moushumi Ghosh rated it it was amazing
I am just fresh from this book and it's so unsettling. This is the best YA book I have read all year.

The story of Mathew or bwana kidogo (little master in Swahili) and Mugo the son of Kamau, the man who worked at Mathew's Dad Grayson's farm and stables. They are friends on the two sides of the colonial divide. This is during the time of the Mau Mau revolution, the violent uprising before Keyan independence which left so many Kikuyus dead, whether innocent and not. The time is 1951 - 53. A small
...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
Emily
Dec 01, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
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
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
Jennifer Varela
Apr 30, 2014 Jennifer Varela rated it liked it
Shelves: tl-307
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
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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 exile, going to England. She married another South African exile; they have two children.
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