Mary's Reviews > Bamboo People

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins
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Sep 27, 11

bookshelves: middle-school-books, multicultural

Chiko is the son of an imprisoned doctor in Burma. He's been taught to read and has promised his father that he will take care of his mother. When Chiko goes to apply for a job teaching, he is instead conscripted into the army, where his education makes him a target for his captain's bullying and physical abuse. He is befriended by street-smart Tai, and Chiko and Tai look out for each other as much as possible. When Chiko is sent on a dangerous assignment, he is seriously injured by a mine, and his life depends on care from a group of Karenni refugees (a minority persecuted by the Burmese army)living in a camp on the Thai border. Many Karenni feel that Chiko should be left to die, but Tu Reh, also on a mission for his people, must decide for himself what is the right thing to do. This is an interesting multicultural story that provides a look at some of the ugly social, political and military realities of Burma, while exploring themes of prejudice, courage, and thoughtful, independent decision-making.
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