Win a signed copy of Bamboo People! Details at the end of this post.

Teachers wanted. Applicants must take examination in person. Salaries start at—

“Chiko, come inside!” Mother calls through the screen door, her voice low and urgent.

On the road behind our house, horns toot, sirens blare, and bicycle rickshaws crowd the streets. A high cement wall and a barrier of bamboo muffle the noise, making our garden seem as private as a monastery. But it isn’t. I could be spotted from the houses nearby, and spies are everywhere. They would betray even an old neighbor for extra ration cards.

I scan the rest of the announcement quickly, my heart racing.

“Chiko! Now!” Mother startles the flock of green parakeets perched on the birdbath, and they fly away.

I fold the newspaper around A Tale of Two Cities and head for the house. I want to tell Mother about the call for teachers in the paper, but it seems like she’s getting more anxious by the day. So am I, even though I wish I didn’t have to admit that. I’m tired of hiding, of worrying, and worst of all, of remembering again and again the day the soldiers came for Father. Remembering how I’ve failed him.

“You shouldn’t be reading out there,” Mother tells me, peering through the screen after latching the door behind me.

I take a deep breath and push my glasses back. It’s now or never. “No harm in reading the government newspaper. There’s a notice—”

But she’s not listening. “We’ll talk about that later, Chiko. How could you take one of your father’s books outside? Do you want to end up in prison, too?”

Excerpt © 2010 Mitali Perkins

About the book:

Chiko isn’t a fighter by nature. He’s a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family’s home and bamboo fields. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion as each boy is changed by unlikely friendships formed under extreme circumstances. Narrated by two fifteen-year-old boys, Bamboo People is a coming-of-age novel set against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma. (

What people are saying:

“With authenticity, insight, and compassion, Perkins delivers another culturally rich coming-of-age novel.”—★ School Library Journal Starred Review

“A graceful exploration of the redemptive power of love, family, and friendship.”—★ Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Released: July 2010 from Charlesbridge

About the author:

Mitali Perkins was born in India and immigrated to the States with her parents and two sisters when she was seven. Bengali-style, their names rhyme: Sonali means “gold,” Rupali means “silver,” and “Mitali” means “friendly.” Mitali had to live up to her name because her family moved so much — she’s lived in India, Ghana, Cameroon, England, New York, Mexico, California, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Massachusetts.  Now she’s settled in Newton, a town just outside of Boston, where she writes books for young readers and visits schools and libraries to talk about the life-changing power of stories.

Win a signed copy:

Mitali has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of Bamboo People for a giveaway!

To enter simply leave a comment on this post.

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Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada and ends on January 3rd at midnight EST.

Good luck!