Review of Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of Bamboo People by Mitali PerkinsBamboo People by Mitali Perkins
Also by this author: You Bring the Distant Near
Published by Charlesbridge Publishing on 2012-07-01
Genres: Action & Adventure, Chapter Books, Readers, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Narrated by two teenage boys on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of Burma's many ethnic minorities, this coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma. 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 when the boys' stories intersect.

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 narrated by Chiko, a 15 year old Burmese boy who dreams of teaching. Instead, he finds himself caught up in war. The last half is narrated 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.

Other Reviews of Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins:

Reading In Color
YA Book Shelf
Amy Reads

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Great review, I really loved this book as well. Very thought-provoking.

  2. Mrs. DeRaps says

    I am really interesting in reading this book. I love learning about other cultures and the experiences of others. Such an eye-opening topic. Thanks for your review!

  3. When I was a freshman in college (2004) the people doing Invisible Children came and spoke at our school. It was so powerful and moving and opened my eyes to something I didn't really know about– child soldiers. It sickens me to know what these kids go through.

    Great review! I might have to pick this one up!

  4. Excellent review. This looks fascinating.

  5. I loved this book as well, April. Like you, it put the issue of Burma on my radar as well, but more than that, it was a real page turner for me. I just couldn’t put it down, and I’m sure that both reluctant and voracious teen readers will love it, too.
    Melissa recently posted..Book Trailer Talks- My First Book TrailerMy Profile

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: