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Bamboo People

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,921 Ratings  ·  376 Reviews

Bang! A side door bursts open. Soldiers pour into the room. They're shouting and waving rifles. I shield my head with my arms. It was a lie! I think, my mind racing.

Girls and boys alike are screaming. The soldiers prod and herd some of us together and push the rest apart as if we're cows or goats. Their leader is a middle—aged man. He's moving slowly, intently, not dashing

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Charlesbridge Publishing
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Claire The war is still ongoing in Burma/Myanmar.
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55th out of 99 books — 235 voters
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Dec 19, 2014 Alvaro rated it it was amazing
I like this book because it's one of those interesting books that takes place in modern day. My review of this story takes place In modern day Burma, Chiko (main character) is looking for a job, to be a teacher), he tells his mom but she doesn't want him in danger. Finally she lets him go, when he's at the city hall he finds out its a trick to get forced into the Burmese army.
On the opposite side of the war, a karrani boy named Tu Reh join the army to get revenge on the Burmese for burning his v
New Bu
Dec 18, 2014 New Bu rated it it was amazing
Recommended to New by: Teacher
In the book The Bamboo People there was a war. The war was between the Burmese and the Karreni. It's about a Burmese boy named Chiko who wants to be a teacher. Chiko instead gets forced into the Burmese army and has to train to be a soldier. Chiko meets Tai who is a street kid who becomes his best friend. Tai teaches Chiko how to survive the training, while Chiko teaches Tai how to read and write. Chiko gets a chance to go home but instead takes Tai's place and goes to war instead, while Tai go ...more
Dec 12, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing
When I started this book, I got really interested in Chiko's story. I think it's a really good story for him, and how he got captured helped me understand more on being taken by the military. When I got into Tu Reh's side of the story, it really helped me understand how the Karenni were treated, and their reactions on all Burmese. the connection between Tu Reh and Chiko, and the story of their people really made this a good book for me.
Landon Kintner
Aug 26, 2014 Landon Kintner rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: friend
Recommended to Landon by: library
Bamboo People is one of the best books I have read ever. I recommend this book to everyone. My favorite part of the book is the second part of the book because it is so suspenseful. I usually get bored during long books, but this one made me want to keep reading. I liked how in the middle of the book, it was written from a different character's perspective than in the first half.

Bamboo People takes place in Burma, in the jungles, in today's time. Chiko is Burmese, and Tu Reh is Karenni. Their pe
Chris Lopez
Dec 21, 2014 Chris Lopez rated it really liked it
"Bamboo People" by Mitali Perkins is a wonderful novel about how to boys changed each other's lives when they meet. It starts out with Chiko, one of the main characters, looking at a poster that is asking for teachers. He manages to convince his mom to let him go to apply. When he arrived at the city hall, he noticed that there were some kids that didn't look like they could be teachers. While he was waiting soldiers came rushing in and took the boys from the group of kids and took them to a cam ...more
A really interesting story narrated by two young boys from both sides of the conflict in Burma (Myanmar).
Clare O
Mar 18, 2015 Clare O rated it it was amazing

In Bamboo People, Mitali Perkins tells the story from the point of view of two Burmese boys, Chiko, 15 years old, and Tu Reh, 16 years old. The first half of the book, told in Chiko’s first person perspective, follows Chiko as he is answering a want ad and going for an interview to become a teacher. However, he is tricked, captured, and recruited into the Burmese Army to defend against the Karenni tribe. The Karenni tribe is a group of freedom loving rebels who are fighting against the oppressi
Barb Middleton
Jun 07, 2012 Barb Middleton rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, ya
Fifteen-year-old Burmese teen, Chiko, wants to be a teacher, but the government wants him to be a soldier. Forced against his will to join the army, Chiko learns to survive with the help of his street-wise friend, Tai. In the book, Bamboo People, by Mitali Perkins the issues of human rights and prejudices toward minorities are explored in the country of Burma/Myanmar.

Chiko is an intelligent, kind boy whose father, a doctor, has been imprisoned for resisting the government. Tai who befriends Chik
Jan 19, 2011 Jan rated it it was ok
This novel, set in modern day Burma, is about two child soldiers—both from very different backgrounds—who are forced to take part in the military’s action against the Karenni people, an ethnic minority in Burma. The first part of the story, told in first person narrative, tells the tale of Chiko, a boy from an educated middle class background whose father has been imprisoned by the government. Chiko is forced to join the army and train to fight the soldiers of the Karenni resistance. On a missio ...more
Francesca Forrest
Oct 02, 2011 Francesca Forrest rated it it was amazing
Shelves: research
I was interested in this for the subject matter and for paying attention to the nuts and bolts of how Mitali Perkins introduced cultural elements and wove together the stories of her two protagonists--Chiko, a Burmese boy from Yangon who's dragooned into the army against his will, and Tu Reh, a Karenni boy living in a refugee camp near the Thai border.

I liked all the characters, both the main ones and the supporting ones, very much, and I felt the emotional growth of both boys was believable an
Jul 13, 2015 Sankrutyayan rated it it was amazing
More than anything this book should not be only tagged to Young Adult, but to cultural, historical and despairing fight of the people for independence and self-rule. The title is so fitting and a brief note is provided at the end about why it was named ‘Bamboo People’. The story from the start was so captivating till the very end and also adventurous. I have affinity to the characters like ‘Tai’ who have an intense sense of responsibility towards their people or the things they think that they n ...more
May 02, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian
Life is not easy in war torn Burma for Chiko and his mother since the government took his father and accused him of being a traitor. Chiko doesn’t believe in the fight that the Burmese government is fighting against the Karenni people, but he is captured by the government and forced to join the army and fight for the Burmese cause. The Karenni rebels end up capturing Chiko and the task of watching over Chiko falls on a young Karenni boy named Tu Reh. This relationship puts Tu Reh in a difficult ...more
Nov 25, 2013 Brenna rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting book that highlights the political situation in Burma (Myanmar). It focuses on two boys, Chiko, a Burmese boy who is conscripted into the Burmese army, and Tu Reh, a Karenni youth who lives in a refugee camp on the border of Burma and Thailand. Before reading this book, I knew very little about what is currently going on in Burma. The country has an oppressive government that is waging war with different tribal or native people. I especially appreciated how the author ...more
Jul 30, 2010 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
Set in modern Burma, this novel is the story of two teen boys on opposite sides of the conflict between the Burmese and the Karenni, one of Burma’s ethnic minorities. Chiko’s father has been arrested for opposing the Burmese government. Now Chiko and his mother have no money to survive on, so Chiko heads out to be tested for a teaching position. But the test was a trap, and Chiko is taken into the Burmese army training to become a soldier. There he uses his wits to survive, befriending a street ...more
Feb 27, 2012 Trevor rated it really liked it
The book I just read was called Bamboo People: a novel. This gripping novel takes place in the shoes of a young 15 year old boy who lives in Burma: a Texas sized country near India that’s in a civil war. The main character, Chiko, lives with his mother in the city. His father who was wrongfully arrested for being a traitor to their country is an inspiration throughout the novel “I’d do anything to get him out of prison”(Chicko). After he is arrested he and his mother are struggling to get by so ...more
Feb 12, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: reads2012
Bamboo People follows two teenage boys, Chiko and Tu Reh. They are from two opposing sides of an on going war being fought in Burma. Chiko's father was taken by the Burmese government, and even though Chiko was angry he never let his anger become bigger than his want for peace. With his father being gone in the war, all schools being closed, and needing to feed himself and his mother, Chiko risks his life to apply for a teaching position. While waiting in line to apply, Chiko is forced into army ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Ed added it
Perkins, Mitali. (2010). Bamboo People. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. 272 pp. ISBN 978-1-58089-328-2 (Hard Cover); $16.95.

Tu Reh has been waiting a long time to kill Burmese soldiers who massacred his people. When his travel in the bamboo forests of Burma places Chiko in his path, Tu Reh finally has his opportunity.

Providing readers with an age appropriate look at what it means to be a soldier is one of the notable features of this finely paced adventure story. It also manages to convey quite a
Jul 13, 2013 Myhiah added it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Audience: Intermediate

Genre: Historical Fiction

Discussion Questions:
REMEMBER: Who were the main characters?
- The two main characters were Chiko and Tu Reh.
UNDERSTAND: Describe what happened in the story up until the perspective of Tu Reh’s starts.
- It begins by Chiko getting scolded by his mother for reading a book outside. Chiko has been in his house, not leaving, since his father was taken by the Burmese military. Him and his mother are losing money everyday and Chiko wants to help out.
Dec 14, 2013 Lucas added it
***Spoiler Alert***

Imagine living in a world where civil war is going on how does that make you feel if you have a heart you would feel sad and very unhappy. In this realistic fiction book two boys create a best-friend relationship and how learn to work together. In the book Chiko's dad is arrested for having a for providing medical treatment to the enemy. Later Chiko is arrested and is forced to serve as a soldier for the same government that put his father in prison. Later on Chiko meets Tu Re
Feb 05, 2012 Sandi rated it it was amazing
This book, set in modern-day Burma, is narrated by two teenage boys on opposite sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of the many ethnic minorities. It explores the nature of violence, power, and prejudice as seen through the eyes of child soldiers and refugees. Two Burmese boys, one a Karenni refugee and the other the son of an imprisoned Burmese doctor, meet in the jungle and in order to survive they must learn to trust each other. Tu Reh, an angry Karenni b ...more
Aug 18, 2010 Betsy rated it really liked it
There is a perception that many children acquire over the course of their education that learning and fun are mutually exclusive ideas. If a book has so much as a smidgen of a fact in it then it's no good to you, right? Fortunately, there are thousands of different kinds of child readers. Some like fantasy. Some like science fiction. Some go in for historical novels. And some like to be taken out of their humdrum lives and given a chance to see how the world works from a different perspective. T ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it
A Burmese teenager is conscripted as a child soldier and forced to hunt down Karenni rebels. He later encounters a Karenni teenager who yearns to fight for the rebels and they both must learn what's worth fighting for. It's a powerful look at the conflict raging in Burma, which has resulted in 150,000 refugees from various minority cultures in Burma, living in camps on the Thailand border and 50,000 refugees that have been relocated to the U.S. (My church has a large population of Karen refugees ...more
Abby Johnson
May 11, 2011 Abby Johnson rated it it was ok
Fifteen year old Chiko is tricked into joining the Burmese army. Tu Reh is a Karenni boy, trapped between wanting to fight the soldiers that destroyed his home and wanting to promote peace as his religious teachings dictate. In the middle of the Burmese jungle, these two boys will meet and neither will ever be the same.

While I appreciate that this is a book that will help raise the consciousness of readers, it just wasn't my cup of tea. There was a lot of talking and not as much action as I exp
Feb 28, 2012 Loraine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Set against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma, Bamboo People explores the power of courage and compassion to overcome violence and prejudice. Chiko, a 16 year old Burmese boy, is an educated teenager who would much rather fight than study when he is abducted and turned into a fighter for the Burmese army against the tribal peoples they are trying to eradicate. Out on a mission with four other young men, he encounters ToReh a 16 year old Karenni refugee who is fighting with ...more
Dec 19, 2014 Mooday rated it it was amazing
I think this book is good because it's an entertaining story. My summary is about 2 kids and it's taking place in Burma its about 2 kids that doesn't really like each other but in the end becomes good friends. One of the kid is Chiko and he was forced to join the army and he volunteers to go on a special mission. The other kid is Tu Reh who is going into the jungle to find some of his people because they need supplies.
Amy Lynn
Aug 03, 2013 Amy Lynn rated it really liked it
This was a fantastic Caudill nominee. I don't think it'll win, but it was great. I knew nothing about it when I started it. I couldn't read the back because I was reading it on the iPad. It takes place in Burma/Thailand and is from two points of view. Part one is from a Burmese boy. Part two is from his enemy. Part two is a continuation of part one. That was neat. So much to talk about here. It would be a great book to teach. Is your grade level them change? Conflict? Perfect! Questions will ari ...more
Cory Mccune
Jul 14, 2013 Cory Mccune rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
Audience: Intermediate
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Remembering - What had happened to Chiko's father before the start of the book?
Understanding - Why do you think this book is called "Bamboo People?"
Applying - What would you have done in Tu Reh's place when he found the injured Chiko?
Analyzing - How do the Karenni fighters differ from the Burmese soldiers? How are they alike?
Evaluating - Who is the strongest character in this book and why do you think that? Chiko? Tu Reh? Tai? Sa Reh? Nya M
Mar 21, 2012 Ellen rated it liked it
I really like how they had two perspectives in the book, it was really cool to see how two different people thought about things. What I really liked was when they met in the book.

It is about Chiko, he lives with his mother in a house and he is not allowed to go outside because the soldiers will take him and make him a part of the army. His dad is in prison for not wanting to be a solider, and Chiko is really worried.

The other perspective is from a boy that is on the other country, helping his d
Mitzi Moore
Sep 02, 2011 Mitzi Moore rated it it was amazing
The freshman team at my school choose this 2010 book as the summer assignment for the incoming class. We like the themes of the book: child soldiers, landmines, and coming of age in a developing country with a military dictatorship in power. During the first week of school, we will be connecting our lessons to the book, as well as following up on assignments the students will be completing over the summer.

As this book was written for young adults, more advanced readers may find parts of the book
Ann Marie
Jul 27, 2013 Ann Marie rated it really liked it
perfect book for the middle schooler !!!! I see many people recommend this for high school reading but I do not feel there is enough 'action' for this grouping...a decent read regarding Burma and its military issues...told from the young teen who lost his father to the military police who took him away because he resisted the government views...the teen is taken to be military and meets another teen whom he befriends...the two manage to use each other to get through their ordeals and in a rare h ...more
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Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata, India, and immigrated to the States when she was seven years old. She's written several books for young readers, including BAMBOO PEOPLE, RICKSHAW GIRL, MONSOON SUMMER, and SECRET KEEPER. She is also the editor of an anthology: OPEN MIC: RIFFS BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES. Mitali maintains a website ( and blog ( where she chats ...more
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