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Among the Free (Shadow Children Series #7) [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Enough games," the man said, raising the gun yet again. "And enough of the Population Police, I say."

This time he cocked the gun and aimed carefully.


This is real, Luke thought. This is really going to happen.

"No, don't!" he ...
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Among the Free (Shadow Children Series #7)

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Overview

"Enough games," the man said, raising the gun yet again. "And enough of the Population Police, I say."

This time he cocked the gun and aimed carefully.


This is real, Luke thought. This is really going to happen.

"No, don't!" he screamed.

Luke Garner is a third-born in a restrictive society that allows only two children per family. Risking his life, he came out of hiding to fight against the Population Police laws. Now, in the final volume of Margaret Peterson Haddix's suspenseful Shadow Children series, Luke inadvertently sets off a rebellion that results in the overthrow of the government. The people are finally free. But who is in charge now? And will this new freedom be everything they had hoped?

With all of the plot twists and excitement Haddix's fans have come to expect, Among the Free brings the Shadow Children sequence to a chilling conclusion.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The final episode of Margaret Peterson Haddix's futuristic Shadow Children sequence brings conclusions, but also surprises. Illegal third-born Luke Garner is working undercover in Population Police headquarters. Endangered by exposure at every turn, he is offered a dangerous mission that he cannot refuse: He is assigned to travel around the region to issue new identification. At the very first stop, however, things go terribly wrong when Luke unintentionally sparks a local revolt. Before he can quell the disturbance, the uprising has blown into widespread revolution.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This is the sixth book in the series "Shadow Children." It stands alone pretty well; it is not necessary to have read any of the others to figure out what is going on. The protagonist, Luke, is the third child in his family and in this repressive society which only allows two children per family, he has been hiding all his life. What schooling he has was sort of cobbled together by his mother, and the only jobs he can get are menial ones where no one cares if he has no papers. The government controls the way people live, where they live, the food they get, the food they grow. It is all done so subtly that most people do not even notice that they are being controlled. Some do, of course, but how can a few people who see the truth make the whole population see it too? Fortunately, Luke is not alone. He has had a variety of jobs and has met many other "third children" who have become his friends. There are also some adults whose minds are not closed yet. Things come to a head when Luke discovers some posters stating that third children are responsible for all the ills of the world. The posters have not ever been used, but what will happen when the government begins to use them? Luke learns that this will happen very soon and he is determined to stop it. Wonderful descriptions of the landscape and buildings of this planet—if it is our planet—are captivating and keep us turning the pages.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-This final installment in the set focuses on illegal third-child Luke, who has been working undercover in the Population Police stables with the hope of somehow helping to topple the oppressive regime. After being handpicked for a special chore by government officials, Luke and several other boys are loaded into a van and driven through the gates of headquarters and out into the world. All of the country's citizens are being issued new identification cards and they are told to knock on every door and summon the terrified people to a mandatory assembly. But one woman's steely refusal to comply kick-starts a revolution in which Luke is destined to play a critical role. Haddix's storytelling hums along quickly, if somewhat predictably. She relies a bit too heavily on stock dialogue and caricatures; change the name of the evil empire in command, for instance, and lines like "The Population Police will prevail" could have been written for any number of government goons in practically any futuristic novel. That said, this is a light, easy read that delivers what it promises. Fans of the series won't be disappointed.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Fans of the series won't be disappointed."

School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416934455
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2006
  • Series: Shadow Children Series , #7
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 49,328
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • File size: 666 KB

Meet the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including The Missing series and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.
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Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE

Luke Garner stood shoulder to shoulder with a dozen other boys, waiting. It was six A.M., time for the daily inspection of all workers at Population Police headquarters, when all their uniforms had to be perfectly fitted, perfectly spotless, perfectly pressed; all their spines perfectly straight; all their expressions perfectly obedient. But Luke and the boys beside him were stablehands, the lowest of the low, so even though they had to line up outside at six A.M., sometimes it was six thirty or even seven before the sergeant stalked down the row. He'd peer at them suspiciously, assigning extra work any time he saw a wayward lock of hair, a wayward crease in a uniform, or even the suspicion of a smirk on a boy's face.

"You!" he'd bark. "Shovel all the manure from stall one into stall two. And then shovel all of that into stall three..."

Only the stupidest boy would protest that that method was inefficient and would take twice as long, that his time might be better spent doing some other chore. All the boys in this lineup had learned not to be that stupid. Once, a long time ago, soon after Luke had arrived at Population Police headquarters, a boy had dared to question a task: "Isn't there a bigger shovel I can use? It'd go faster that way." The boy had been beaten in full sight of all the other boys.

And then he'd disappeared.

Luke had not made any friends in the stable. The unspoken rule seemed to be Keep to yourself. But Luke spent a lot of time thinking about the boy who had dared to ask a question, the one who'd disappeared.

"Atten-tion!" It was the sergeant, arriving earlier than he ever had before.

"Yes, sir!" Luke shouted back with the other boys, snapping his arm up into a salute. He worried that his arm had come up too late, that his "yes, sir!" had been a split second too slow, that he'd be singled out for punishment. The sergeant narrowed his eyes, seeming to stare straight at Luke, and Luke's heart pounded in his chest. But then the sergeant's gaze fell on the next boy in the line.

"You are worthless stableboys," the sergeant spat out. He glared at each boy in turn. "You're no better than the manure you wallow in."

"Yes, sir!" Luke and the other boys yelled. They'd been trained. They knew what they were supposed to say.

"But..." The sergeant paused. This was different. Usually he could go on berating them endlessly. "Some of you will have a chance to better yourselves." A new tone had entered his voice. Slyness? Uncertainty?

For the millionth time since he'd left his home nearly a year earlier, Luke wished he could understand other people better, that he could see through their lies to hear what they were actually saying.

"Some of you will be called to a higher purpose," the sergeant continued. "Some of you will be reassigned to a new task for the glory of our country."

None of the boys dared to move, but Luke could practically feel the others around him wanting to exchange glances, to see if anyone else knew what the sergeant was talking about. Higher purpose? New task? What did that mean?

Another man strode up beside the sergeant. He was taller, more imposing. His uniform was more crisply pressed, and he had a row of medals on his chest.

"I'll choose," he said imperiously.

He walked up and down the row of boys, peering carefully at each one of them. Luke held his breath, as if exhaling might call too much attention to himself. He didn't want to be reassigned. He liked working with the horses. They were...safe. The stables were a good place to hide.

I, for one, have had enough of hiding. Words a friend had spoken months ago echoed in his mind. Luke had not come to Population Police headquarters looking for safety; only a fool would want to hide there. Luke and his friends had had plans. They'd had dreams. But they hadn't realized how big Population Police headquarters were, how difficult it would be just to pass a message from one person to another. Luke couldn't be sure he and his friends had accomplished anything. Sometimes when he was brushing down a horse, he'd whisper into the horse's quivering ear, "Maybe I am just a worthless stableboy. Maybe that's okay."

Luke had spent most of his thirteen years around hogs, not horses, and any hog would have looked back at him with its piggy eyes as if to say, So? You think I care? But the horses looked at Luke as if they understood. One horse in particular had a way of sliding her nose under Luke's arm as if she were comforting him, as if she wanted to say, I know you've been through a lot. I know you've been hurt and hungry. I know you miss your family and friends. I know you're scared. You just stay right here with me and you'll be fine. Secretly, Luke called this horse Jenny, in memory of a friend of his, Jen Talbot. But deep down he knew that the human Jen would not have been so comforting. Jen probably would have screamed at him: What you are talking about? You're not just some worthless stableboy. You're important! Go out and change the world!

Luke was starting to feel a little dizzy from not breathing. He dared to ease a little air out of his lungs, to take another shallow breath.

The man with the medals on his chest was taking his time walking down the row of boys, staring into their eyes, reaching out to test their arm muscles.

"You," the man said, picking out the tallest kid in the row and shoving him to the other side of the room. "And you," he said, yanking the most muscular boy out of the line.

Luke allowed himself to take a deeper breath. He let himself notice how cold it was out here in the early morning chill, and think about how much warmer it would be back in the stables. Two down, only one to go -- he was probably safe. Of the boys remaining, he wasn't the tallest or the heaviest or the strongest. He was just a typical scrawny kid.

The man narrowed his eyes, examining the boys left in the lineup. He grabbed one boy's head so he could stare into the boy's ears; he studied another boy's straw-colored hair. Luke half expected the man to reach into some boy's mouth to look at his teeth, the way the head groom did with the horses.

Good thing Mrs. Talbot managed to get the braces off my teeth, Luke thought. He had a flash of remembering a light-hearted moment in the midst of sorrow and fear: him and his friends laughing in a cozy cottage while Mrs. Talbot tugged on metal bands and wires and protested, "Look, kids, orthodontia is not my specialty. What do they put these things on with? Cement?" In that moment, Luke hadn't cared that the braces endangered him, linking him to a suspect past. He hadn't even cared that all her tugging and scraping hurt. He'd just been happy to laugh with his friends.

Now something caught in his throat, and he had to swallow hard to fight back his memories, to hold back his sense that he deserved to be -- no, that he was -- more than a worthless, lonely stableboy. Maybe he made a little noise, deep in his throat. The man with the medals on his chest snapped his head toward Luke, focused the gaze of his narrowed eyes squarely on Luke's face. The man gave Luke a cruel, thin-lipped smile. In horror, Luke watched the man slowly lift his arm -- higher, higher, and higher, until it was aimed straight out from his body, the first finger extended.

"You," the man said.

He was pointing at Luke.

Copyright © 2006 by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Introduction

ABOUT THE BOOKS

Imagine living in the shadows, hiding your existence from almost everyone in the world. This is the plight of Jen, Trey, Nina, and all other third-born children. With their nation plagued by drought and food shortages, their government has made it illegal for families to have more than two children. Yet thousands of thirds exist without identification cards or rights of any kind. As these shadow children begin to discover and communicate with each other, their worldviews broaden. They begin to wonder why their government claims that they are the cause of all of their nation's ills, and they question the worth of their leaders themselves. Fearfully, unwittingly, or angrily, these secret children emerge from the shadows to fight for change.

The seven Shadow Children novels are told from the viewpoints of Luke, the beloved third son of a rural family; Matthias, the abandoned urban orphan raised by elderly moralist Samuel; and other third children. Their narratives offer readers differing perspectives on the compelling questions explored in the series. Should the government have the right to dictate the size of families or other aspects of how people choose to live their lives? In an age of televised news, how can one be certain what is really happening in the world and what is illusion — who is telling the truth and who isn't? Can individual actions truly affect the future of a nation? And, ultimately, what does it mean to live in freedom?

DISCUSSION TOPICS

Why do you think some families decided to have third children despite their society's desperate circumstances and strict laws? Do you think that the benefits of having another child would outweigh thesacrifices that must be made? Why or why not?

Each third child comes from a different background and type of hiding place. How are these children treated by the people who care for them and hide them? How do they feel about their circumstances? How do these feelings affect their actions?

How does the government enforce its rules? Do you think its plan for dealing with the low food supply is a good one? Is it justified? Must governments limit individual freedoms to protect their citizens as a group? Is this the case in your own country?

To come out of hiding, shadow children must assume false identities. How would you feel if you had to live under an assumed name, denying your relationship to your family? Which shadow child's feelings about this situation are most like your own and why?

Are the shadow children in more danger when they are hidden or when they venture out into the larger, more complicated world? In what ways do you think this would be a difficult transition to make? Would you feel safer or less safe out in the world?

Shadow children are often uncertain whether people are their friends or their enemies. Cite examples when third children question the loyalties of Mr. Talbot, Smits, Oscar, and even members of the Population Police Force. Is trust as difficult in your world?

A critical challenge faced by each shadow child is the sense that one individual cannot make a difference. When do Luke, Nina, Trey, and Matthias express this sense? Are they correct? What is the relationship between this feeling and the leadership roles these children ultimately take on?

How do different characters contribute to the fight for the freedom of the shadow children? How effective is Jen's rally? Does Luke help the cause when he joins the Grant family of Barons? Can Trey's fear be a type of courage? How do Mr. and Mrs. Talbot, Mr. Hendricks, and even Philip Twinings help the fight?

It becomes increasingly clear that the government is misinforming its citizens. What lies are told on the public television channels? How is the information on the Baron channels different? What roles do television and the Internet play in the novels?

Why do you think the government is, in a sense, framing the shadow children for the nation's problems? Whom do you think the starving population would be angry with if they did not have the shadow children to blame for their hunger?

In what ways does hunger affect different characters and their actions? If your family were hungry, would you have joined the Population Police? Why or why not?

When Aldous Krakenaur and the Population Police are defeated in the final book, are the third children truly safe? What does Luke do to expose Oscar? Why does Nina feel that only a third child could have stopped Oscar?

What kind of government do you think — or hope — the shadow children will help to create? How does Luke imagine the future? Do you think it will be perfect? Do you think it will be better? Explain your answer.

QUOTATIONS TO DISCUSS

Among the Hidden begins with Luke musing: "I will never be allowed outside again. Maybe never again as long as I live." What might you do if you were facing your final moments outside? How does this passage affect your understanding of the series?

Jen tries to persuade Luke to join the rally, saying, "You've got to come, Luke, or you'll hate yourself the rest of your life. When you don't have to hide anymore, even years from now, there'll always be some small part of you whispering, 'I don't deserve this. I didn't fight for it. I'm not worth it.' But you are, Luke, you are." List three ways Jen's words are important. How is Jen, who dies, a key character throughout the series? Compare and contrast the characters of Jen and Samuel as moral thinkers and leaders.

Near the end of Among the Impostors, Mr. Hendricks explains that, "The Population Police can lie too...It suits the government's purposes to say they are arresting third children rather than traitors." Why might this be better for the government's purposes? Are third children the real cause of the nation's troubles?

Among the Betrayed opens with Nina's thought that "...like the bogeyman and the Big Bad Wolf and the Wicked Witch and the creep-show monster, the Population Police belonged in stories and nightmares, not real life." What makes these rebellious thoughts? What makes these brave thoughts?

In Chapter 29 of Among the Barons, "Luke remembered a quote from one of his history books: 'The king is dead, long live the king.'" How do Luke's experiences help him understand these words spoken upon the death of France's Kings? Is the transfer of power in Luke's world really this clear? How might this quote be understood in terms of the way leadership changes hands in your country?

In Chapter 21 of Among the Brave, Luke's brother, Mark, complements Trey on being braver than him. As Trey Responds, he realizes, "People are brave in different ways." Explain this quote in terms of the different types of bravery depicted in the series.

In Chapter 19 of Among the Enemy, Matthias wonders why he could save a Population Police officer, then fight against him. "It had to do with Samuel telling him, over and over again, 'Killing is wrong.' Even...back in the cabin, Matthias hadn't wanted to be an accomplice to any more murder." How does the memory of Samuel affect Matthias's thoughts and actions? How do Samuel's words affect your understanding of the relationship between third children and their government?

At the end of Chapter 8 in Among the Free, Luke asks a boy about his loyalties. "'Which side am I on?' [the boy] repeated. 'What do you think? Whatever side feeds me — that's the one for me.'" Luke later muses, "Shouldn't the enemies of my enemies be my friends?" Discuss loyalty in terms of these two quotations. Could you ever be driven to think like the hungry boy? Why or why not? How would you respond to Luke's circular question about the enemies of his enemies?

WRITING AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

Hiding

The premise of the Shadow Children series is that third children must live in hiding, pretending not to exist. Imagine you are a third child. Write three to five journal entries describing your life, how you feel about it, and your dreams, if any, for the future.

Margaret Peterson Haddix calls these novels the "Shadow Children" series. What other words, such as hidden or forbidden, describe third children? Look up "shadow" in the dictionary. Based on these exercises, write a short essay explaining why "shadow" is, or is not, the best word to use in the series title. If not, what series title would you suggest?

Make a "top ten" list of reasons people join the Population Police. Then, in the character of one of those of people, write a speech explaining to the Population Police why you have come to join them. Read your speech aloud to classmates.

In the final book, Luke balks at being interviewed on camera, stating that if he is free then he has the right to say nothing. Why does Luke say this? Role-play this scene, having one classmate act as the interviewer while others play liberated citizens. You may also want to role-play the scene in which citizens begin to testify against third children once again. Discuss ways in which these role-plays are similar and/or different.

Population

The world's six billionth child was born in 1999, and our population continues to grow. A growing population poses risks to the planet. Imagine you have just been told that you are child number six billion. Write a journal entry describing how you feel about this fact.

The world's three most populous countries are China, India, and the United States. Research how population growth has been handled in one of these countries. Compare and contrast the different population changes and policies with the research of other classmates or friends. Have the policies been successful? What positive and negative effects might these policies have in the future? (Hint: Excellent data is available on the Population Reference Bureau website: www.prb.org.)

Food and Hunger

Luke's family lives on a farm, and he is very interested in gardening and hydroponics, the growing of plants in a nutrient-rich water rather than soil. Learn more about these disciplines by trying to grow some vegetables of your own or trying your hand at hydroponics.

The people of the Shadow Children world sometimes act against their moral senses because they are starving. What does it mean to be hungry? Write a paragraph describing how your stomach, limbs, and mind feel when you have missed a meal. Compare this to an encyclopedia definition of starvation. Based on these observations and facts, write a defense of the starving people's bad acts.

How do we deal with hunger and famine in our modern world? Research the policies that different countries have for dealing with hunger both at home and abroad. Stage a debate, with each person advocating a different approach, and see if you can reach a consensus about which methods are the most effective.

Governments and Control

Are these novels about a strong government preventing famine through limiting population? Or are they about a failing government attempting to keep control despite the famine by blaming third children for the entire population's hunger? Write a paragraph explaining which of the above sentences best describes the crisis of the Shadow Children series and why.

Research the population control efforts of the Chinese government, the vilification of the Jewish people by the Nazis in World War II, or the racial hierarchy established between the Hutu and Tutsi people in Rwanda. Present an informative poster based on your research to friends and classmates. Discuss the ways in which each of these governments resembles the actions of the Shadow Children government. Then, if desired, write a paragraph stating which real-life situation you think is most similar to the series and why.

To promote the idea that third children are villains, the government feeds the population propaganda through television and posters. Find the dictionary definition of propaganda. Look for examples of propaganda in the novels. Then create your own propaganda poster defending or blaming third children for the troubles of their nation.

Luke and his friends ultimately have the opportunity to help create a new government. With classmates or friends, brainstorm a list of rules, regulations, and freedoms for the new government you would create for the Shadow Children. Or you and your classmates can each draft a new constitution for the Shadow Children to present to your class. Vote on the best constitution.

What does it mean to be free? Hold a Freedom Day at your school or classroom. Learn about celebrations of freedom across time and cultures. Write an essay, poem, or song lyrics; create a sculpture, drawing, or collage; or improvise a dance or a play showing what freedom means to you.

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed teen and middle-grade novels, all published by S&S. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio.

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Reading Group Guide


ABOUT THE BOOKS

Imagine living in the shadows, hiding your existence from almost everyone in the world. This is the plight of Jen, Trey, Nina, and all other third-born children. With their nation plagued by drought and food shortages, their government has made it illegal for families to have more than two children. Yet thousands of thirds exist without identification cards or rights of any kind. As these shadow children begin to discover and communicate with each other, their worldviews broaden. They begin to wonder why their government claims that they are the cause of all of their nation's ills, and they question the worth of their leaders themselves. Fearfully, unwittingly, or angrily, these secret children emerge from the shadows to fight for change.

The seven Shadow Children novels are told from the viewpoints of Luke, the beloved third son of a rural family; Matthias, the abandoned urban orphan raised by elderly moralist Samuel; and other third children. Their narratives offer readers differing perspectives on the compelling questions explored in the series. Should the government have the right to dictate the size of families or other aspects of how people choose to live their lives? In an age of televised news, how can one be certain what is really happening in the world and what is illusion -- who is telling the truth and who isn't? Can individual actions truly affect the future of a nation? And, ultimately, what does it mean to live in freedom?

DISCUSSION TOPICS

Why do you think some families decided to have third children despite their society's desperate circumstances and strict laws? Do you think that the benefits of having another child would outweigh the sacrifices that must be made? Why or why not?

Each third child comes from a different background and type of hiding place. How are these children treated by the people who care for them and hide them? How do they feel about their circumstances? How do these feelings affect their actions?

How does the government enforce its rules? Do you think its plan for dealing with the low food supply is a good one? Is it justified? Must governments limit individual freedoms to protect their citizens as a group? Is this the case in your own country?

To come out of hiding, shadow children must assume false identities. How would you feel if you had to live under an assumed name, denying your relationship to your family? Which shadow child's feelings about this situation are most like your own and why?

Are the shadow children in more danger when they are hidden or when they venture out into the larger, more complicated world? In what ways do you think this would be a difficult transition to make? Would you feel safer or less safe out in the world?

Shadow children are often uncertain whether people are their friends or their enemies. Cite examples when third children question the loyalties of Mr. Talbot, Smits, Oscar, and even members of the Population Police Force. Is trust as difficult in your world?

A critical challenge faced by each shadow child is the sense that one individual cannot make a difference. When do Luke, Nina, Trey, and Matthias express this sense? Are they correct? What is the relationship between this feeling and the leadership roles these children ultimately take on?

How do different characters contribute to the fight for the freedom of the shadow children? How effective is Jen's rally? Does Luke help the cause when he joins the Grant family of Barons? Can Trey's fear be a type of courage? How do Mr. and Mrs. Talbot, Mr. Hendricks, and even Philip Twinings help the fight?

It becomes increasingly clear that the government is misinforming its citizens. What lies are told on the public television channels? How is the information on the Baron channels different? What roles do television and the Internet play in the novels?

Why do you think the government is, in a sense, framing the shadow children for the nation's problems? Whom do you think the starving population would be angry with if they did not have the shadow children to blame for their hunger?

In what ways does hunger affect different characters and their actions? If your family were hungry, would you have joined the Population Police? Why or why not?

When Aldous Krakenaur and the Population Police are defeated in the final book, are the third children truly safe? What does Luke do to expose Oscar? Why does Nina feel that only a third child could have stopped Oscar?

What kind of government do you think -- or hope -- the shadow children will help to create? How does Luke imagine the future? Do you think it will be perfect? Do you think it will be better? Explain your answer.

QUOTATIONS TO DISCUSS

Among the Hidden begins with Luke musing: "I will never be allowed outside again. Maybe never again as long as I live." What might you do if you were facing your final moments outside? How does this passage affect your understanding of the series?

Jen tries to persuade Luke to join the rally, saying, "You've got to come, Luke, or you'll hate yourself the rest of your life. When you don't have to hide anymore, even years from now, there'll always be some small part of you whispering, 'I don't deserve this. I didn't fight for it. I'm not worth it.' But you are, Luke, you are." List three ways Jen's words are important. How is Jen, who dies, a key character throughout the series? Compare and contrast the characters of Jen and Samuel as moral thinkers and leaders.

Near the end of Among the Impostors, Mr. Hendricks explains that, "The Population Police can lie too...It suits the government's purposes to say they are arresting third children rather than traitors." Why might this be better for the government's purposes? Are third children the real cause of the nation's troubles?

Among the Betrayed opens with Nina's thought that "...like the bogeyman and the Big Bad Wolf and the Wicked Witch and the creep-show monster, the Population Police belonged in stories and nightmares, not real life." What makes these rebellious thoughts? What makes these brave thoughts?

In Chapter 29 of Among the Barons, "Luke remembered a quote from one of his history books: 'The king is dead, long live the king.'" How do Luke's experiences help him understand these words spoken upon the death of France's Kings? Is the transfer of power in Luke's world really this clear? How might this quote be understood in terms of the way leadership changes hands in your country?

In Chapter 21 of Among the Brave, Luke's brother, Mark, complements Trey on being braver than him. As Trey Responds, he realizes, "People are brave in different ways." Explain this quote in terms of the different types of bravery depicted in the series.

In Chapter 19 of Among the Enemy, Matthias wonders why he could save a Population Police officer, then fight against him. "It had to do with Samuel telling him, over and over again, 'Killing is wrong.' Even...back in the cabin, Matthias hadn't wanted to be an accomplice to any more murder." How does the memory of Samuel affect Matthias's thoughts and actions? How do Samuel's words affect your understanding of the relationship between third children and their government?

At the end of Chapter 8 in Among the Free, Luke asks a boy about his loyalties. "'Which side am I on?' [the boy] repeated. 'What do you think? Whatever side feeds me -- that's the one for me.'" Luke later muses, "Shouldn't the enemies of my enemies be my friends?" Discuss loyalty in terms of these two quotations. Could you ever be driven to think like the hungry boy? Why or why not? How would you respond to Luke's circular question about the enemies of his enemies?

WRITING AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

Hiding

The premise of the Shadow Children series is that third children must live in hiding, pretending not to exist. Imagine you are a third child. Write three to five journal entries describing your life, how you feel about it, and your dreams, if any, for the future.

Margaret Peterson Haddix calls these novels the "Shadow Children" series. What other words, such as hidden or forbidden, describe third children? Look up "shadow" in the dictionary. Based on these exercises, write a short essay explaining why "shadow" is, or is not, the best word to use in the series title. If not, what series title would you suggest?

Make a "top ten" list of reasons people join the Population Police. Then, in the character of one of those of people, write a speech explaining to the Population Police why you have come to join them. Read your speech aloud to classmates.

In the final book, Luke balks at being interviewed on camera, stating that if he is free then he has the right to say nothing. Why does Luke say this? Role-play this scene, having one classmate act as the interviewer while others play liberated citizens. You may also want to role-play the scene in which citizens begin to testify against third children once again. Discuss ways in which these role-plays are similar and/or different.

Population

The world's six billionth child was born in 1999, and our population continues to grow. A growing population poses risks to the planet. Imagine you have just been told that you are child number six billion. Write a journal entry describing how you feel about this fact.

The world's three most populous countries are China, India, and the United States. Research how population growth has been handled in one of these countries. Compare and contrast the different population changes and policies with the research of other classmates or friends. Have the policies been successful? What positive and negative effects might these policies have in the future? (Hint: Excellent data is available on the Population Reference Bureau website: prb.org.)

Food and Hunger

Luke's family lives on a farm, and he is very interested in gardening and hydroponics, the growing of plants in a nutrient-rich water rather than soil. Learn more about these disciplines by trying to grow some vegetables of your own or trying your hand at hydroponics.

The people of the Shadow Children world sometimes act against their moral senses because they are starving. What does it mean to be hungry? Write a paragraph describing how your stomach, limbs, and mind feel when you have missed a meal. Compare this to an encyclopedia definition of starvation. Based on these observations and facts, write a defense of the starving people's bad acts.

How do we deal with hunger and famine in our modern world? Research the policies that different countries have for dealing with hunger both at home and abroad. Stage a debate, with each person advocating a different approach, and see if you can reach a consensus about which methods are the most effective.

Governments and Control

Are these novels about a strong government preventing famine through limiting population? Or are they about a failing government attempting to keep control despite the famine by blaming third children for the entire population's hunger? Write a paragraph explaining which of the above sentences best describes the crisis of the Shadow Children series and why.

Research the population control efforts of the Chinese government, the vilification of the Jewish people by the Nazis in World War II, or the racial hierarchy established between the Hutu and Tutsi people in Rwanda. Present an informative poster based on your research to friends and classmates. Discuss the ways in which each of these governments resembles the actions of the Shadow Children government. Then, if desired, write a paragraph stating which real-life situation you think is most similar to the series and why.

To promote the idea that third children are villains, the government feeds the population propaganda through television and posters. Find the dictionary definition of propaganda. Look for examples of propaganda in the novels. Then create your own propaganda poster defending or blaming third children for the troubles of their nation.

Luke and his friends ultimately have the opportunity to help create a new government. With classmates or friends, brainstorm a list of rules, regulations, and freedoms for the new government you would create for the Shadow Children. Or you and your classmates can each draft a new constitution for the Shadow Children to present to your class. Vote on the best constitution.

What does it mean to be free? Hold a Freedom Day at your school or classroom. Learn about celebrations of freedom across time and cultures. Write an essay, poem, or song lyrics; create a sculpture, drawing, or collage; or improvise a dance or a play showing what freedom means to you.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 149 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(111)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 149 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

    Sad and but Inspiring

    Mrs. Haddix has done it again. Her amazing stories are wonderful they inspire so many of us. Among the free is the time when Lukes fear has finally gone. Telling his story to the whole world is a hard thing to do when your a third child. He faced his fears and he was careful with his words. With Luke trying his hardest the popilation police "poppies" are gone they are no longer the highest people to be controlled by. There young and old villagers knew it was time to let the light shine and do something without waiting around for the other people to do something about it. As they became stonger and stronger there was no way the population police could do something. These people, third children, and anyone else in the world where finally free. Luke knew that his future would be bright. He wants to live the best life that he can. To tell the story to the next generations!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2006

    Great Book

    This book was absolutely amazing! It pulls you in and like makes you never want to stop reading. It was great.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    A must read book!!

    This series..The Shadow Children...is above and beyond any other books I have read. Beginning with the first one, I couldn't wait for the next one. #7, the final book in the series, provides a great ending and leaves you feeling very satisfied!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    :)

    I loved this. I just coudnt stop reading it. The last part was just really touching.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Omg one of the best series ever!!!

    Love this whole series!!! among the free was the epic conclusion needed to finish this heart pounding series. And the series was written by margaret peterson haddix... whats jo to love???;)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    :)

    I have read all of her books (shadow children sequence) and out of all this one is my favorite praise for Haddix!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2011

    Haddix

    Margret Peterson Haddix has always been my favorite writer but this book is the best one she has made

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    I love this book!

    This is my favorite book EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2010

    Highly Recommended - For "All the people"

    This series is my most favorite I loved it so much once I picked up the book I could never put it down and that was for all the books it was heart breaking for me to end the series I cryed at the end they were joyful cheers I'm so glad all the Shadow children got to be... I'm not going to tell ending because I want you to read it trust me you will love it and in my opinion Margaret Peterson Haddix is the best athor ever please Margaret Peterson Haddix write another book of Shadow Children the title could be Among Us or whatever you decide and if you can't write another book I understand because your to busy writeing your other great books!

    Sincerly,

    Your biggest fan
    Hannnah

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Me

    I freaking love this series. Awesome. You'll like it too.

    Gvbbcbfsfcdgvd. That was for fun

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Awesome even though ihavent even read it though
    Probally is going to be one of the best ones in the series
    Im on the 5th one right now

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2011

    best book in series

    great ending and i couldn't put this book down until the end 5*

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2009

    NOT A GOOD ENDING!!!

    I did NOT think this was a good closing to the Shadow Children sequel. The title basicaly gives away the entire book! You don't even have to read it! These were some of my favorite books, and don't get me wrong I LOVE MARGARET PETERSON HADDIX. But sorry, this was not a good ending!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    Among the free

    Among the Free<BR/>Margaret Peterson Haddix<BR/>Scholastic Inc.<BR/>Realistic fiction <BR/><BR/> Imagine having to leave your family just because you were born third. Luke was a third child and he was taken away from his family because the Population Police (Poppies) made a law that said that the third children had to live in a camp because there wasn't enough food to feed the whole family. After a while of living in the camp, Luke became tired of being bossed around so he ran away. Among the Free By Margaret Peterson Haddix is about Luke running away from the Population Police. Luke finds a town that is broken down with not a lot of people. After a while he finds people that want to help him hide away from the Poppies. Luke escapes being killed by villagers, starts to hear voices in his head, and risks his life throughout the book. <BR/> <BR/> Luke is a strong hearted kid who risks his life to make third children legal. Along his journey, he meets other third children who want to protest against the Population Police. Nina and Trey, who are also third children, become friends with Luke at the Population Police camp. Nina and Trey help Luke make a plan to escape the Population Police camp and inspire Luke to go on to protest against the Population Police. Nina and Luke are about the same age and are good friends. They are respectful to each other and look out for each other. However, when they try to escape they do not succeed. Eli was a man Luke met when he ran away. Eli was very nice and caring, he gave Luke food and shelter for the night. Eli is also protective of his own family.<BR/> <BR/> This book was great because it's realistic fiction and I can relate some of the things with my personal life. Luke, the main character, is around the same age as many middle school kids, so it is easy to relate to what he is going through throughout the book. Among the Free was very hard to put down because there was a lot of action in it. I think kids my age would enjoy this book because it's very exciting and you have to guess what comes next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2007

    2 thumbs up!

    Among the Free by Margaret Peterson Haddix Reviewed by Ashley CAUTION: BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK YOU MUST READ THE BOOKS BEFORE THIS ONE OR YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND IT! Will they finally overthrow the ruthless, vicious Population Police? Will they ever get to feel the sweet feeling of being free? ¿Are all of those innocent people really going to die?¿ (p. 104) You won¿t ever know these answers until you read the exhilarating book Among the Free by Margaret Peterson Haddix. She has won the international reading association Children¿s Book Award. Many of the scenes in this book are at the Population Police headquarters. The main character is a teen named Luke Garner. His fake ID name although, is Lee Grant. Luke is a courageous, loyal, kind, loving friend to everyone. The big issue about this book is the problem about the Population Police. The Population Police controls everyone and everything around him or her. Nobody likes them but you have to obey them or you will die if you are caught. There was a boy in the story named Trey that got caught. He was a friend of Luke. Will he die or come out alive? The theme of this story is that Luke and the other main characters always have something else to deal with after they solve the first problem. The way that the author writes this book is phenomenal. She uses figurative language and gives voice to the characters. This is good because you always know what the characters are doing and thinking. That is why her books are so enjoyable to read. You should definitely read this book because it concludes all that has happened in the previous 6 books. Also, it really gives you a satisfying ending to all of the books before it. You should read this book because it has good vocabulary and has a very adventurous story. This book is great!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2007

    Freedom Rings, but What's the Catch?

    What is one thing that people seem to want the most? Freedom means independence and more opportunities, and that¿s what Luke Garner received. He was sick of the cruel laws that abandoned third children like himself and the punishment inflicted upon those who failed to obey them. Luke is on the run from the Population Police once again and is now in even more trouble. He had been working for them along with his friends that were also illegal third children to bring them down from the inside. The Population Police are still in operation, and Luke¿s job as stable boy suddenly changes when he is ordered to accompany officers through a town to order a town meeting. A citizen refuses to attend ,and the officer tells him to shoot the person. Instead, he runs. He travels around in secrecy for a few days, and passes by a town. This boy grabs him and tells him all about the Population Police being overthrown, so they go to a rally at the previous headquarters. Bystanders are really happy, but end up blaming third children for the food shortage again. Luke then finds clues to a plan that could bring third children down again. The dictatorship disappears suddenly, and the dictator is in handcuffs. However, how can he really be sure he is free at last? In Among the Free new acquaintances are made, betrayals are exposed, trust is put to the ultimate test, and fears are overcome with an audacious attitude. This is a story of faith and resembles the choice to not hold back and be resolute in the fight for the rights of all of the people. Courage, an often envied trait, is respected greatly in this book. I really admire Margaret Peterson Haddix¿s astounding display of character in Among the Free and award this book a five. She really varied people¿s feelings and explained them, so it was hard to get lost. Instead of just talking about how it feels to be betrayed, she takes you on a walk in someone¿s shoes who knew what if felt like to betray someone else. While the feelings of the characters are relatable, the suspense was extremely catchy. I enjoyed the thrill of guessing what would occur next, but I wasn¿t completely left out in the blue. There was one disappointment though. I agreed that I should be aware of Luke¿s life events, but I pondered over the whereabouts of his friends. Being the seventh book in the Shadow Children Series, I expected to be updated on the positions of the past characters. As in most of Margaret Peterson Haddix¿s books, I found a majority of likes over dislikes. Her books are really exciting! ¿Run, Forest! Run!¿ You might¿ve heard that line on the famous movie Forest Gump. Even though he wasn¿t running away from the government, he was running from his troubles. Throughout the rest of the movie, he made do with what he had to improve lives just like Luke. I would also suggest a book about slaves revolting against the government because they weren¿t allowed to be free either. To enjoy Among the Free, you¿d probably prefer books describing the need for independence and the presentation of surprises and suspense. Your book has been located, action viewers!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    The Calm Before the Storm-21

    Hello everybody! I'm running out of ways to say hi. Next part at Caught. I think you guys know where that is. This part will be in Merida's pov. ••••••••••••••••••••• The plan wasn't that ingenius. Anyone could've thought of it. The tubes were filled with gas. I knew it was gas, because the place smelt like a gas station. Everyone ran into the building. Jack brought Jonas in. I locked the door and looked at Jonas. He was barely conscence." Do you think you can use your fire to light this?" "Maybe.", he said, weakly." Great! Here's the plan. Everybody except Jack, Jonas, and me will go outside and get the monsters attention. And keep them from getting into the building. The rest of us will take a barrel of gas and pour a little trail that leads into the woods. Then Jonas will light it and when you guys see it coming, scatter. Is that clear? We should probably take Austin and Pepper too." Me and Jack took the unconscence and Jonas into the woods. Once everyone was settled there, I ran back to the building and grabbed one of the barrels of gas and poured a big pile near the gas tube. Then I left the trail of gasall the way to the woods." You have no idea how heavy that is.", I said, once I got back." Trust me. I've held one before.", Jack stated. Jonas ignited his hands and touched the ground where the gas lay. It lit like a firecracker and followed the trail of gas. The other questers saw the sparks and bolted into the woods. The monsters, they were fighting, looked confused and almost followed them. They were too late. The gas finally reached the tube and the whole building errupted into flames. The monsters were consumed in the fire. We ran grabbed Austin and Pepper and ran to meet everyone else. Jonas could walk on his own now, but only with someone to lean on. When we got there it turned out that the strange kid with the hood had joined them. They had unarmed him." Lets get out of here, already.", I said. •••••••••••••••• Hope you liked this part. SEA

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    What the Wht the

    This is so awesome book yu should really get it and read it.


    Ps:can some one lend me the book please?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

    Awesome

    Awesomely good

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    Awesome

    Best book ever!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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