Publication Date: March 2011
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer 2010 Kids' Next List
“In this classic coming of age story in a setting almost unimaginable to the American reader, Perkins tells the story of Burma at war. Young men are forced into the army and others escape into the jungle to fight with the resistance. Chiko is thrust into the army while Tu Reh, an ethnic minority, struggles to survive against the oppressive army. Through the eyes of these two young men we experience violence, prejudice and the abuse of power as well as what courage and heroism really mean.”
-- Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN
Chiko isn't a fighter by nature. He's a book-smart Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. When Chiko is forced into the army by trickery, he must find the courage to survive the mental and physical punishment meted out by the training facility's menacing captain. Tu Reh can't forget the image of the Burmese soldiers burning his home and the bamboo fields of his oppressed Karenni people, one of the many ethnic minorities in Burma. Now living in a Karenni refugee camp on the Thai border, Tu Reh is consumed by anger and the need for revenge. He can't wait to join his father and the Karenni resistance in the effort to protect their people. Chiko and Tu Reh's stories come to a violent intersection as each boy is sent on his first mission into the jungle. Extreme circumstances and unlikely friendships force each boy to confront what it means to be a man of his people. 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.