Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Book Summary

Chiko is a studious Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in jail for resisting the government. Chiko is also taken from his family and forced to fight in a war. Tu Reh is a fighter, and proud to fight the Burmese soldiers who have already taken his Karenni home. This book is about these two 15-year-olds on opposite sides of a military and political conflict.
Bamboo People book cover
Bamboo People

Book Review

This book explores how people can learn not to hate others they’ve been taught to hate, even in the middle of a conflict. There are some good examples of hard choices, and what it means to be responsible - it's a discussion-worthy book. The author does a really frustrating thing by introducing you to a character, and right when that character reaches a crisis point, the story shifts the point of view to a completely different person and makes you wait to connect with the initial charater. It's not a delicious kind of frustration, but it is necessary to examine both perspectives for the story to pose its most meaningful questions.

left quotation mark

Take the stick!" he says. "Take it and hit him. Hard." p. 102

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Honor; Integrity
  • Standing Up for Beliefs
  • Courage; Loyalty
  • Medicine; Healing; Strength
  • Family Relationships
  • Growing Up
  • Burmese Military Conflict

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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