Book Review + Book Giveaway: Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Bamboo People is the story of two young boys who are on opposite sides of the Burmese conflict. On one side is the Burmese Army, famous for abducting and abusing children to use as soldiers, and on the other side is the Karenni ethnic minority that the Burmese Army is hoping to wipe out.

This story could be very graphic, but it is not. Perkins is more suggestive of the actual horrors and tortures that happen every day in countries like Burma that use children as soldiers and slaves. I love that she addresses both sides of this conflict, and shows the two boys as afraid and fearless at the same time. They are, of course, afraid for their lives, but fearless when it comes to protecting others and maintaining some sense of humanity amongst all of the inhumanity that surrounds them.

Because I have read lots and lots about child soldiers but not a lot about the issues that Burma is facing, I was hoping for more political meat to come out in this story. My students and I have been studying Burma (or Myanmar, as most Burmese call it), and I wanted to supply them with a book that would bring further issues to the forefront of our study. I think that it will bring up more issues for us, but less of the political and more of the basic human rights variety. Which, of course, is important and interesting.

I purchased and read this book because I teach a World Lit course to sophomores in high school. I was hoping that it would fit in with the curriculum that I've already developed, but think that it is a bit too young for all of the learners that I have in my room. I have a bunch of extra copies of this book for use as free reading or as a lit circle text, so I am going to give my personal copy to one of you in hopes that it will land in the hands of a middle school teacher or a librarian. It would be perfect for a younger age group than the ones that I have in my classroom.

To enter, please leave a comment that tells me where this the book would end up if you were to win it. Is there a middle school, public library or classroom that you know of that would accept this book? Or, do you know a middle school-aged child that you could pass it to? It's fine if you'd like to read it for yourself, too!

This giveaway is for US folks only. Please leave your comment telling me what library or classroom this book would be donated to by December 10th (International Human Rights Day). Make sure to leave an email address with your entry.