Posts Tagged 'Army'

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Genre:  Realistic Fiction
# of Pages:  270

RAC Book:  Yes

Chiko and Tu Reh live very different lives in modern day Burma, but are forced to make tough decisions through circumstances beyond their control.  Chiko has always been raised to study and read and therefore does not have the strength or skills to fight in an army. He is forced to be a soldier by his government anyway, however.  He must learn quickly what it takes to survive in a far off camp away from everyone and everything he has ever known.  Tu Reh remembers when the Burmese soldiers burned down his family’s home and left their village in despair.  He is surprised when his father chooses to show an injured soldier mercy and must come to grips with the decision he ultimately decides to make.  Can either boy survive to reach adulthood in this war torn country?  Will they ever find the strength to make those tough decisions?

This book will feel like a historical fiction book to many students because it can be hard to believe that teenagers their age really live this way in the modern world.  That is why it is important for any student reading this book to know that this is what modern day Burma is like.  Teenagers are struggling to feed and protect their families and have had to change their ultimate goals in life accordingly.  These two characters accurately portray the different cultures that are currently at war in Burma and how young people are in a fight they do not understand.  Their motivations, frustrations, and individual feelings are truly illustrated for the reader and will leave the reader with a better understanding of what it is like to be a teenager in Burma at this time.  Recommended for class or individual reading assignments.  Teachers are encouraged to discuss Burma in some detail with any student who reads this so that he or she can properly understand the accuracy of the depiction.

Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell


Genre:  Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  163 p.

2010 Iowa Teen Award Winner

RAC Book:  No

Twelve-year-old Jamie is excited when she hears her older brother, T.J., has enlisted in the Army.  Their father is a Colonel and they have lived all of their lives on army bases.  She would love to go fight for her country too if they would let her.  She is surprised when their father does not want T.J. to go to Vietnam.  He does everything he can to convince her brother to back out of his enlistment agreement, but T.J. persists and is sent to Vietnam almost immediately after basic training.  He sends generic letters home to his parents, but he sends rolls of film to Jamie.  She learns how to develop film by herself so that she is the first one to see the prints and she is surprised by the content of the film.  First of all, the war does not look at all as glamorous as she thought it would.  Secondly, there are many pictures of the moon, which make her wonder what her brother is trying to show her with the pictures.  Jamie soon decides she is not so thrilled about her big brother fighting in the war anymore. 

This Vietnam tale is a great way to introduce the Vietnam War to students this age.  Jamie’s perspective of the young child who sees war as glamour and heroes quickly changes when she starts seeing what is going on over there.  Her father is a well-written character as he is the one who describes some of the errors in the strategy used in the war.  The emotions and feelings of soldiers and families help the reader to truly get into the story and feel what it would be like to be in their position.  A very well-written book on a very difficult topic.