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. The author does not sugarcoat her the terrible, fascist reality this is a gentle story suitable for younger readers than the subject matter might suggest. It answers the question, "What is it like to be a child soldier?" clearly, but with hope. Junior Library Guild Selection.