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Shadow Children (Boxed Set): Among the Hidden; Among the Impostors; Among the Betrayed; Among the Barons

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Overview

Imagine a world where families are allowed only two children. Illegal third children — shadow children — must live in hiding. If they are discovered, there is only one punishment: Death.
Among the ...

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Overview

Imagine a world where families are allowed only two children. Illegal third children — shadow children — must live in hiding. If they are discovered, there is only one punishment: Death.
Among the Hidden
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
An American Booksellers Association Kids' Pick of the List
Among the Impostors
International Reading Association Young Adults' Choice
Among the Betrayed
An America Library Association Quick Pick
International Reading Association/Children's Book Council Children's Choice

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Booklist Among the Betrayed
Plenty of suspense...lots of thrilling twists and turns.

School Library Journal Among the Barons
Haddix is a superb storyteller and her view of a future world...is both scary and plausible.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689033674
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Series: Shadow Children Series
  • Edition description: Boxed Set
  • Pages: 720
  • Sales rank: 70,267
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.82 (w) x 5.06 (h) x 2.17 (d)

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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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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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Margaret Peterson Haddix

What inspired you to create the Shadow Children series?

MPH: I first started thinking about the whole scenario when my husband and I were trying to decide whether or not to have a third child. We discussed the issue of overpopulation, and how that should affect our decision. In frustration one night I thought, "Well, if overpopulation were that bad of a problem, there'd be a law that nobody could have more than two children." My next thought was, "Wow. What if there were a law like that?"

By any chance, are you a third child? Do you have more than two children?

MPH: No to both questions. I'm a second child, out of four. And I have only two children, though there are usually several of my kids' friends hanging around the house so it often seems like I have more.

When you wrote the first book, Among the Hidden, did you envision it would be the first in a series?

MPH: Not at all. I intended it to be a stand-alone book, and for a long time I resisted all suggestions that I continue the story. Then I got the image in my head of Luke lying in bed at night in a strange place, surrounded by strangers, and whispering his real name to himself in a desperate attempt to hold on to his real identity. That became the opening scene of Among the Impostors and the beginning of the rest of the series.

Each of the books has been so different, yet based on the same themes. How are you able to keep the series fresh?

MPH: I think it's helped to switch between main characters, so everything isn't always from Luke's perspective. And, although I didn't plan this from the beginning, the situations in the books keep changing, with the shift in the government and more restrictive rules. My characters are becoming more desperate, with good reason.

Your books all offer so many twists and turns that they are real page-turners, yet all of the angles come together. How are you able to keep everything straight as you write these books?

MPH: Well, I'm not always able to keep it all straight the first time through. Sometimes I write myself into corners and struggle to find a way out. Revision is definitely helpful.

You don't specify the setting for the books. Is this meant to suggest that this type of totalitarian government can take place anywhere in the world, at any time?

MPH: I don't want to sound like that much of an alarmist, although it amazes me how ordinary, otherwise sane and supposedly even good people accepted dictators like Hitler in the past. I did consider, early on, stating outright that these books take place in the United States in some not-so-distant future, after droughts and famines and a drastic change in the government. But explaining all of that would have been an immense interruption in the story. And I thought a lot of people would dismiss such a possibility out of hand, and then dismiss the entire series as implausible. So I left the setting as some vague, fictional place in some vague, fictional future, with hopes that this would make readers think for themselves about whether such a shift would be possible here.

How much do current events affect your plot choices for the series?

MPH: The first three books were not affected at all by current events. Instead, while I was planning for them, I did a lot of historical research: I read about famines in the past; I read about the difficulties Jewish children faced coming out of hiding after World War II; I read about the different resistance movements that sprang up to fight the Nazis throughout Europe; I read about the Soviet Union under Stalin; I thought about my father's stories about growing up during the Depression and my own fascination with some world events of the 1980s, particularly Tiananmen Square and the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. I thought I was drawing on tragedies and hopes of the past in order to imagine children fighting a dismal future that I didn't believe would really happen.

My perspective changed after September 11. I had just begun writing Among the Barons in the fall of 2001, and for a few weeks after the terrorist attacks I felt it was impossible to continue. It seemed wrong to write about opposing the government -- any government. I knew Oscar was going to carry out some form of sabotage, and it made me sick to think about writing that. When I finally returned to Barons, it became a very different book than it would have been if I'd finished it September 10, 2001. Luke's confusion and dread mirrored a lot of what I was feeling in real life.

Among the Brave and Among the Enemy have been less connected to current events, but there are certainly overtones. In the Shadow Children world, people gave up all their freedom for food; our country is currently struggling with the question of how much freedom we can or should give up for security. In Brave and Enemy, Trey and Matthew and Matthias put their lives on the line trying to protect or save other people; soldiers and firefighters and police officers made and continue to make similar choices.

I really wish we were living in safer, happier times, and I could base the books solely on my own imagination and history. But seeing all the connections to reality does make me more thoughtful and careful about what I write.

The Shadow Children long to live freely, yet have been conditioned to fear the outside world. Do you feel that readers can relate to this feeling of fear and powerlessness? Why?

MPH: Yes. We live in frightening times, and it's hard to know what to do. I think a lot of people feel powerless right now. Also, on a less dramatic scale, I think most teens and preteens can relate to wanting to be in control of their own lives but being afraid of all the responsibility. That's part of growing up.

It's fascinating how minor characters in earlier books become the protagonists of later books. Did you plan this when you began writing the series?

MPH: When I agreed to do more books after Among the Hidden, I expected to tell about numerous characters besides Luke. But I didn't really plan the interconnections -- my original thought was that I'd skip from one character to another, in vastly different circumstances. I think I was seeing the series as several related stand-alone books, rather than an actual series. But then after Among the Impostors, it was like Nina said to me, "Hey, I've got a story, too. Want to hear it?" In retrospect, it makes sense to me that the minor characters grow into main characters in subsequent books. With practically every book I've ever written, I've known more about the minor characters than I can fit into the book. So it's been a joy to get to expand on some of those characters in other books.

The Shadow Children series is hugely popular with middle grade and teen readers. What are the most common questions that kids ask you about the books?

MPH: A lot of kids ask where the books take place, and whether I think the events in the books will really happen. They ask how I got the idea for the series, and whether I know about the one-child policy in China. One of the most poignant questions anyone ever asked me came from a boy who wanted to know where the Population Police are because, he said, "I don't want to go there." And I thought, okay, maybe he doesn't quite understand the difference between fiction and non-fiction, but he does get the bigger point. None of us should ever want to go to those kinds of restrictions, that kind of a police state.

Do you hope to send any particular message or moral when writing these books?

MPH: My primary goal is to tell a good story -- I can't think of much that turns off kids faster than books that are overly didactic or moralistic. But I'm always glad when kids tell me these books have made them think about freedom and courage and personal choices and sacrificing for others.

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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: 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.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 6, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    An intriguing tale of a future totalitarian world.

    I was recommended 'Among the Hidden' by my wonderful 8th grade English teacher. I took it out of spite and as soon as I began to read it I couldn't put it down. It's a fast-paced novel that keeps you reading till the very end. It's well-written, intense, disturbing, and uplifting. As soon as I finished reading I had to find the others. I wanted to know the rest of the story. Which are all very well-written novels for any age. I would recommend the series to anyone, and always do. <BR/><BR/>Now the box set only comes with the first four books of the series. You will also need to buy Among the Brave, Among the Enemy, and Among the Free.<BR/><BR/>Though I'm giving the box set five stars I do want to mention that the series is intense and disturbing. It might scare younger children. It brought a huge amount of fear to me-- even scarier since I am a third child myself.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2009

    Among the hidden Great Book

    I have just finished reading the first book in the shadow children series it was called Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It was about a young boy Luke who was a shadow child. He is a 3rd child who has never been to school or meet anyone but his brothers and parents because of the population police. But, he always goes outside and plays in the woods until one day they cut them down to built, a huge neighborhood. So, now he live in an attic and one day he looked out a window and a light went on (when everyone was at school and work) so he looked every day and the light went on. So, one day Luke went over there and there was a 3rd child named Jen and the became best friends, and one day Jen decided to do rally to make 3rd children legal with other third children but Luke didn't go. For days Luke waited for her so he went over there and none was there. What happened? The positives of this book were that there was a really good ending and it made you want to read the next book in the series. Also, I like this book because it kinda shows you what being an only child home alone feels like because Luke was always by himself because either his parents were working, or his brothers were at school. The negatives of this book are that it started out really slow for the first 1-55 pages. Also, what was very weird wads the relationship with him and his family. It was very weird and usually. I also didn't like that because Jen was rich see got foods that other people weren't allowed to have even if they could afford it. The writing style of Margareta was very weird because she varied her chapter lengths a lot. The author changed the length of her sentences a lot to make the book more complex. She also used similes and metaphors to keep the picture in your mind. She also didn't really use big words she used mostly simple words. I would really recommend this book to anyone that doesn't know what being an only child is like. Its also very exciting and keeps you wanting more. I would also recommend this book to anyone who has to do a science fiction book report because it's a great read and you can actually have fun with a book report. GREAT BOOK!!! There is a series of these book like: Among The Imposters, Among the Enemy, and Among The Betrayed. That is one of the best books I ever read and you should read it too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2008

    Great Series

    This series keeps you on your toes!! I read this entire series in 2 weeks i just kept going to the public library and i'm pretty sure everyone there knew me. This series just gets better with each book. Luke is a very shy boy who turns out to be a hero. With many obsticales to face and friends to meet Luke becomes the perfect character that anyone will like I'm a girl and i loved this book i recommended it to all of my friends and we started a book club with this series it got us all readig a new book every day or every week. It makes shy people feel powerful and gives not shy people a look from a shy persons point of view I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to just read a book!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting

    This series is very thrilling, breath-taking and interesting. I love how each book, a different person is telling their own story and own dilemma, but it still keeps the old characters in the book. I think the main plot of these books is very creative and fasinating. Just picturing yourself having to live under a diffferent persons name and having to hide from society makes this book a must-read book for anyone who loves a good interesting book. I hope more people regoinize Haddix and her amazing stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    heart breaking

    It is heart breaking to think that places like this could really still excist. You get very attached to all of the children.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

    AMAZING!!

    Im 13 years old and i love this book. its a mysteries book. While i was reading among the hidden i did not want to stop reading even when i wanted to. In this book the parents can only have 2 children but this parents had 3. If the population police finds out they will take him away. one day he saw his new neighbors' 2 sons and there daughter in the window. IF you want to know what happens just read the book and enjoy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2008

    a reviewer

    I read the first book and I didn't like it much in the begining so, I stopped reading it. Some time later, my friends kept urging me to try it again and I did. After I read the first book I couldn't put any of the other ones down but yet, I didn't want the stories to end! Margaret Peterson Haddix is one of my all-time FAVORITE authors!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2014

    I enjoyed this book very much. You never know what¿s going to ha

    I enjoyed this book very much. You never know what’s going to happen next and this book always has you at the edge of your seat. For example, When Luke was home alone one day, he was looking out of his bedroom window and witnessed another girls face in the sports families (the neighbors) house; even though everyone was supposedly gone. After he became very close with Jen , she decided to make a plan to go to the rally. Luke knew it was a very bad idea so he told her he would not be able to go. Later that night, Jen snuck over to Luke's to apologize for her behavior earlier. The next morning , he comes to find out something very tragic. At the end of this story, Luke gets a fake I.D to cover up who he really is and moves away from his family. I found this very shocking and wanted to know right away what happened to him. I recommend this book for any ages. It will keep you interested and you will not want to put it down. 

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  • Posted November 11, 2014

    amazing book. you'll never want to put it down you're always int

    amazing book. you'll never want to put it down you're always interested and things are always happening. Its never boring

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  • Posted January 24, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Re-reading a good read.

    I read this story back in Middle school, out of order too! I bought it because I remember ti being a good story and it did not disappoint. I recommend for preteen ages.

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    This book really made me think about government and the decision

    This book really made me think about government and the decisions they make for us. This book was really an example of extreme control, but it makes you wonder what could happen if we as citizens were not more aware of policy. There are a few twists in this book that keep you reading, just when you think you have it figured out something always changes!

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    goooooooooooooooood

    i love this book it is about a boy who is a thrird clild and his town has these cops they are population cops and if they find them he dies but over all i LOVE this book one of my FAVS

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    BEST BOOK EVER!!

    I really LOVED this book because, it has perfect deatel ! i could not put this book down !

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    this book is ok.

    This book is okay I really to be honest did not like the ending of the book as much as I hoped it to be.The ending was kind of happy but I thought there was going to be more action that what happened. oh well I kind of impressed in the middle of the book because I thought that he was going to stay by his self all the time like he could not go any where.but it turned out that he got to have his freedom at the end of the book if you want to know more you are just going to have to read the book your self and see what happened and why I thought that there was going to be more action at the end of the book. I think that this book fits 6th through 8th and up because it has a couple of thing that some little kinda might not under stand.Thank you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    For all ages - Really great story line.

    I am 58 years old and I read all of these. Absolutely loved them. Wish this series had gone on a lot longer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Shadow Children - Boxed Set

    Bought this set for my 12 year old neice. She was thrilled!

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

    Posted January 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Shadow Child(ooooo Spooky)

    Among the Hidden is an amazing book. It has a great plot and an awesome theme. If you read this book definitely read the series! It has a very suspenseful thriller. When Luke finds Jen, his life and view from the world changes. It's my favorite book/series of all time.

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  • Posted February 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Shadow Children- The first 3 books

    I am currently reading the 4th book in this series and so far I find it a fascinating story. It is very unique and I am enjoying it very much. It also seems like the kind of thing that could happen in real life. I like the way the characters cope when faced with adversity. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes something different.

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  • Posted January 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Books Ever

    The shadow children sequence are the best bone chilling books ever!

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  • Posted January 12, 2009

    excellent

    excellent books- recommends to anyone! alittle frustrated I bought the box set thinking i had all the books... wrong.. its a little irritating when you think you have all the books but turns out nope.. ugh. at least a excuse to go back to the store.. but still its annoying!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews

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