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Bamboo People: Book summary and reviews of Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Bamboo People

by Mitali Perkins

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins X
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2010
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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, though, is a middle-aged man. He's moving slowly, intently, not dashing around like the others. "Take the boys only, Win Min," I overhear him telling a tall, gangly soldier. "Make them obey."


Chiko isn't a fighter by nature. He's a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family's home and bamboo fields. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion as each boy is changed by unlikely friendships formed under extreme circumstances.

This coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma. Narrated by two teenagers on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of the many ethnic minorities in Burma, Bamboo People explores the nature of violence, power, and prejudice.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Though occasionally didactic and a bit preachy, this is nevertheless a story that invites discussion of the realities of warfare rooted in long-standing antagonism and unreasoning hatred of the other. Grades 5-8." - Booklist

"While Perkins doesn't sugarcoat her subject coming of age in a brutal, fascistic society this is a gentle story with a lot of heart, suitable for younger readers than the subject matter might suggest." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. Perkins delivers a graceful exploration of the redemptive power of love, family, and friendship under untenable circumstances. Ages 11–14." - Publishers Weekly

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Reader Reviews

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Autumn Hart

Bamboo People Review
Overall, it's a good book to pass the time and fairly educational. HOWEVER, if you plan on using this book for a history project, I advise you to think carefully. While this book may have a good overview, there aren't many details - or at least ones you can fact check - and it fails to mention more specific historical information including the time period all of this occurred.

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Author Information

Mitali Perkins Author Biography

Photo: Bethany Carnes

Mitali Perkin has written ten novels for young readers, including Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years) and Bamboo People (an American Library Association's Top Ten Novels for Young Adults) Her newest novel, Tiger Boy, won the Charlotte Huck Honor Award and the South Asia Book Award. She has been honored as a "Most Engaging Author" by independent booksellers across the country and selected as a "Literary Light for Children" by the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Mitali was born in Kolkata, India before immigrating to the Bay Area with her family. She has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied at Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, and currently resides in the ...

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