Tag Archives: Karenni

Bamboo People: read this book or I’ll stick your hand in warm water while you are sleeping

23 Jul

BAMBOO PEOPLE by Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge, July 2010). From the fantastic Mitali Perkin’s (RICKSHAW GIRL) comes the untold stories of the Karenin and Burmese people, currently living under military rule. Told from the perspectives of Chiko and Tu Reh, fifteen-year-old boys on either side of the conflict who are just trying to survive being thrust into violence and war against their wills and beliefs. Chiko’s father has been thrown in jail for protesting the military rule and in particular the violence against the Karenni people. Chiko is conscripted into the army where he learns that his book smarts aren’t the only kind of intelligence and how to start being a man. Tu Reh and his family have been forced into a refugee camp where they fight the Burmese from the jungle and try to stay alive. Circumstances force the two together and to forge an understanding. Perkin’s gives a engaging, real voices to her characters who pull you along with them on their often-terrifying ride through a tense situation. Perkin’s teaches readers about a world that exists today and about which we know very little as Westerners. But her message doesn’t feel clunky nor does it hit readers over the head. Instead, it shows us a slice of life that we should consider more closely and about which we should care. Check it out. Excellent for reluctant and guy readers.