Bamboo People: A Novel

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Charlesbridge Publishing, 2010 - Juvenile Fiction - 272 pages
31 Reviews
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 pyhysical 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 Tur 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.
Mitali Perkins has spent much of her life crossing borders. Born in Kolkata, India, she has lived in Ghana, Cameroon, England, New York, Mexico, California, Bangladesh, and Thailand.
Mitali lives in an otherwise all-male household with her husband, two sons, and two Labrador retrievers in Newton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Monsoon Summer, The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen, Rickshaw Girl, and Secret Keeper.

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User Review  - FrancescaForrest - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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User Review  - agrudzien - LibraryThing

Chiko is a Burmese boy who has been educated beyond many of his peers - he can read and write and has learned about both sides of the conflict surrounding him. When he is taken by force into the ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Mitali Bose Perkins was born in Kolkata, India. Her name means “friendly” in Bangla, and she had to try and live up to it because the Bose family moved so often—they lived in India, Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York City, and Mexico City before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area when Mitali was in middle school.
Mitali studied political science at Stanford University and public policy at UC Berkeley, and survived academia thanks to a steady diet of kids' books from public libraries and bookstores. She went on to teach middle school, high school, and college students. She lived in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and California with her husband and twin sons before moving to Newton, Massachusetts, where the Perkins family lives now.
Mitali's books include Monsoon Summer (Delacorte), The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen (Little, Brown), and First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover (Dutton).
Mitali is also an avid blogger. Visit her at to think, chat, and learn about life between cultures.