Two Burmese boys, one a Karenni refugee and the other the son of an imprisoned Burmese doctor, meet in the jungle and in order to survive they must learn to trust each other.
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Chiko’s life is spent mostly indoors, and it’s driving him insane. Ever since his father was arrested and taken by the Burmese armies the boy has been forced to hide in his home. His mother’s fear? That he’ll be snatched away and forced to serve in the army like other boys his age. But when a risk taken to apply for a teaching position leads instead to his capture, Chiko is forced into the impossible position of aiding his government as a soldier. And though he makes a clever alliance with the smart street urchin Tai, it may only be a matter of time before Chiko is destroyed utterly by his service. Meanwhile, an opposite story is playing out in a Karenni community. Tu Reh is ready to fight for his people against the Burmese oppressors, but his very commitment to his cause is put to the test when he saves a wounded Burmese soldier. That’s soldier’s name? Chiko. And suddenly two worlds come together, causing both boys to question their lives and assumptions. An author’s note and afterword give more information about Burma and what readers can do to improve the situation there.
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