A teacher left a comment on my blog that she was looking for children’s books about Myanmar and Thailand for the children in her classroom who have recently immigrated from those countries. This list is for her. My Thailand children’s book list is coming soon.
I’ve searched but I’ve only found a handful of books suitable for a classroom read aloud to teach kids about their classmates’ home country. Can you help me out with your suggestions? Thanks so much!
p.s. I have another post on Burmese culture here: Burma or Myanmar for Kids Though Books and Activities.
Wonderful Children’s Books About Myanmar (Burma)
I See the Sun in Myanmar by Dedie King, illustrated by Judith Inglese
This is a wonderful bilingual picture book series that follows the day in the life of a family in various countries. In Myanmar (previously known as Burma), a young girl starts off the day by reciting verses of loving kindness that reflect the influence of Buddhism in her life. She shares food with the monks who pass by her house on their daily alms walk. It is considered an honor to give the monks food. Her mother is a nurse and she accompanies her to work. The endnotes provide more information about Myanmar including its history and current political climate. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
A Refugee’s Journey from Myanmar by Ellen Rodger
In light of recent atrocities to the Rohingya people, I’ve included this nonfiction book that centers around the plight of this Muslim minority group. While it’s probably not the most riveting read aloud, there are several stories of refugees told from the perspective of a child that cover a two-page spread. You could pick and choose pages from this book to use for a riveting and moving classroom read aloud. [nonfiction picture book in chapters, ages 8 and up]
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins
A refugee and child soldier challenge the rules of war in this coming-of-age novel set against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma.
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. When Chiko is forced into the Burmese army and subsequently injured on a mission, the boys’ lives intersect. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion as both boys discover that everything is not as it seems. Mitali Perkins delivers a touching story about hopes, dreams, and the choices that define who we are. [young adult, ages 14 and up]
Reading about war and its effects on children gives me nightmares, so I am posting this review from PaperTigers.org:
“This fascinating story shines a light on the desperate situation of those affected by current Burmese policies and will help educate young readers about that situation in particular and the vagaries and confusion surrounding conflict in general. The characters, Perkins’ first male protagonists, are very thoughtful, easy to engage with, and surprisingly similar … This juxtaposition is absolutely brilliant and illustrates the point that war makes enemies out of people who, in a different context, would become the best of friends.” — PaperTigers.org
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