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Bamboo People

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,803 ratings  ·  474 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.
Hannah Lulu In terms of how graphic it is--while the story is quite emotional, sometimes sad, sometimes scary--it is still written so as to be appropriate for a p…moreIn terms of how graphic it is--while the story is quite emotional, sometimes sad, sometimes scary--it is still written so as to be appropriate for a pretty young age--I'd say 9 would work. The subject matter is certainly heavy. That doesn't make it not appropriate, just probably something you want to know going into it. (less)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,803 ratings  ·  474 reviews

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Dec 05, 2014 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
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, war
One of my favorite YA novels. Perkins explores the tragic and senseless repercussions of war on the border of Burma and Thailand, as told from the pov of two young men on each side. The setting is authentic and beautifully rendered, and the characters strong and believable. This novel is an important addition to YA literature.
New Bu
Dec 18, 2014 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 05, 2014 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.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I needed an historical fiction book for a challenge and this was available from the library. I would never have picked it up otherwise but it's really good.

I'm sure it glosses over lots of unpleasantness but it is an interesting glimpse into a period of which I was oblivious.
Landon Kintner
Aug 01, 2014 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
Barb Middleton
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, historical
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
Clare O
Feb 02, 2015 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 oppress
Jan 19, 2011 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
A really interesting story narrated by two young boys from both sides of the conflict in Burma (Myanmar).
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars

This book was good in terms of it shedding light on Burmese issues, the effects of war, child soldiers, ethnic divisions, etc. With those issues being presented I expected to feel more, but due to the writing style and narration I felt disconnected with the characters. It felt like Perkins was doing more telling than showing. There were some areas that were glazed over and implied, but overall it was a lot of telling. I'm not sure what age group this book is intended for, but it certa
Chris Lopez
Dec 20, 2014 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
Francesca Forrest
Oct 02, 2011 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
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Personnel response: At first this book was very slow to understand not much was happening in the beginning until I got to the middle where everything was starting to get interesting throughout the book. I thought that Bamboo People was going to be a very boring book, but if your someone like me that loves war themed books then I would suggest reading Bamboo People.

Plot: Bamboo people is a war themed book that takes two young teenage boys from the country of Burma. As you get into the book it wi
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot better than I expected it to be but then again I had set my expectations pretty low. It was a easy read but still really good.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow! This really exceeded my expectations. I haven’t been reading that much lately because of track, but this was a pretty quick read. It was really sweet to watch Chiko and Tu Reh get closer.
May 20, 2010 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
Fartun Yussuf
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Bamboo People is a book based on the perspectives of two teenagers on opposite ends of the war between the Burmese and the Karenni. A Burmese teenager boy named Chicko, who was inspiring to be a teacher, gets manipulated by the Burmese government to join the military against his will. On the other hand, there's a Karenni teenager by the name of Tu Reh, and he joins the war to get his revenge against the Burmese. There's a point in the book where one of them makes an unimaginable decision tha ...more
Dec 14, 2013 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
Jul 09, 2015 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
Jul 13, 2013 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.
Jul 19, 2010 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
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the novel, Bamboo People, by Mitali Perkinks was published in March 2011. The genre of bamboo people was realistic fiction. The story took place in Thailand about 2 Thai kids getting taken away from there homes and families to join the war. The aim characters throughout the whole story are Chiko and Tu Reh. A little summary about the story. Chiko one of the main characters wanted to sign up to be a teacher. After he signed up he realized that it was a trick to join the army. Moments after the ...more
Feb 27, 2012 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
Dec 05, 2012 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
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Bamboo People" is a wonderful novel about two boys fighting for different sides of the war - Karenni and Burmese - and even through their differences, they were able to come together and spark a remarkable friendship. Through this amazing book, Metali Perkins was able to convey a really serious global issue that is still current and also teach us about the Karenni- Burmese conflict while also creating an interesting story that is simple yet has so much meaning.
Written in two perspectives, Meta
Feb 09, 2012 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
Jan 29, 2011 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
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 05, 2012 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
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Mitali Perkins has written many novels for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for the National Book Award) Rickshaw Girl (a NYPL best 100 Book for children in the past 100 years, film adaptation coming in 2020), Bamboo People (an ALA Top 10 YA novel), and Tiger Boy, which won the South Asia Book Award for Younger Readers. She currently writes and resides in the San Fran ...more

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