Friday, July 16, 2010

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

I love books that introduce kids (and adults!) to moments in history or injustices in the world that are otherwise foreign or unknown to them. Mitali Perkins does this in her newest book Bamboo People. She takes the story of two boys, Chiko and Tu Reh, two theoretical enemies, one Burmese, one Karenni, and shows how their lives collide.

I found Chiko's story incredibly gripping and tragic but I had a more difficult time following along with Tu Reh's story. The character names in his half of the story were all so similar (Sa Reh, Bu Reh, Ree Meh...) that I couldn't remember who was who.

With books like this, I often find myself reading the author's note either at the beginning or mid-way through my reading because it helps to give context to the story. That is something I encourage all readers to do. I'll be doing a book talk on this book with my new class in September, and the first thing I'll do is read the author's note, and then I'll lead into telling them about the story.

I highly recommend this book as a parley into teaching and learning about the injustices of modern Burma.

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins
First Published: July 2010
Number of Pages: 272
Audience: Middle grade
Genre: Realistic fiction

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