Monday, August 30, 2010

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

War is hard for everyone, but it is especially tough on teenagers who must become men almost overnight.

Charlesbridge provided me with a copy of this book for review, and the publicist was very excited about it. She was right, it is an excellent read for young adults or even older adults, such as myself.

Chiko wants to be a teacher. His father, a doctor, has been imprisoned for resisting the government. Chiko needs to support his mother, so he tries to get a job. And, instead, get captured by the same government. They put him in the army even though he does not want to fight.

Tu Reh remembers the army burning his home and bamboo field, and he and his fellow Karenni people have no love for the Burmese.

When these two boys meet in the forest on their first missions in war (on opposite sides), the conflicts are not just physical - they're also mental. Each boy has to mature, has to make their own decisions and has to live with the results of that judgement.

Ms. Perkins does an excellent job of describing war times and the types of people who rise to the surface during volatile times, both good and bad. There's a bit of humor, some unexpected friendships, and a lot of tension. But it's very realistic and will give your young reader a taste of war and how confusing things can get.

I highly recommend this book. It should be required reading for all young male adults. Life is not easy.

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