You know what sucks? Being a child soldier. For real. One day you are making googly eyes at your hot neighbor, the next you are tricked into joining the army and have no option of leaving. Did I mention your family doesn’t know where you are? For many teens in Burma/Myanmar, this is a reality. I definitely did not know very much about child soldiers until reading the superb book Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins.
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins follows the civil strife in Burma, between the Karenni which is a splinter ethnic minority living in the region and the Burmese who are told that the Karenni are evil. Bamboo People is written in two distinct halves. One half is narrarated by Chiko, a 15 year old Burmese boy who dreams of teaching. Instead, he finds himself caught up in war. The last half is narrarated by Tu Reh, a Karenni boy who lives in a refugee camp and also fights the Burmese.
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins provides a powerful look at war and it’s role in the lives of young people. We see the results of choices and how they impact a situation for better or worse. We see there are humans on both sides. Rarely is war so simple as good guys vs. bad guys.
I found Bamboo People to be quite thought-provoking. It has made me interested in finding out more about this conflict. Let’s be honest, I don’t often think about Burma. What I think is fabulous is when a book like this can raise the topic and put it on my radar.
Disclosure: I got this book at BEA.
Other Reviews of Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins:
Purchase Bamboo People Here.