Posts Tagged 'Burma'

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.

Elephant Run by Roland Smith


Genre:  Historical fiction

# of pages:  318 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Iowa Teen Award 2010

Nick Freestone is living with his mother in London during 1941.  When the blitz begins she sends him to live with his dad in Burma, only life isn’t much better there as the Japanese invade his father’s plantation.  Nick is held captive and forced to work as a slave and his father is sent to a prison camp.  Mya, a native girl whose family has always worked the plantation, is trapped as a slave with Nick because her brother has been sent to a prison camp as well.  When life begins to get worse for them on the plantation they decide to make a clever, but risky escape attempt in order to save Nick’s father and Mya’s brother.

Roland Smith always does a nice job of telling unique stories from different cultural places and times.  Elephant Run is no exception as Smith delves into WWII from an angle many adults and students do not usually hear about.  The invasion of Burma by the Japanese will be interesting to young readers studying this time or who just like adventure books.  The cultural aspects of life in Burma are described well and the characters are well developed.  A very unique adventure story that will keep Roland Smith fans coming back to find out what he will write about next.