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Haddix, Margaret Peterson
New York : Simon & Schuster, 1998.
IL 3-6  RL 6.6
ISBN 0689817002

(7 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Luke is not ordinary kid.  He does like to run around in his father's fields and talk to other people but he can't do that often.  Luke is a third child and he isn't allowed.  He lives in a community where there are strict laws on population.  Only two children are allowed in a family.  So, Luke stays hidden but once in awhile he can sneak out to his father's barn or eat meals with his family.  Until now.  A very big housing development is being built behind his house for the rich people  -- or the Barons as Luke calls them.  Trees are knocked down and that is the end of Luke's privacy and safety.  Now he has to stay hidden constantly up in his room in the attic in fear of getting caught by the Population Police.  The only way he can see out is through the gap in his roof.  He has discovered that 23 people leave form the "Baron" development every day.  But today, he sees a light on in the house behind him and a face in the window even though every person has left.  Who is this person?  Luke is desperate to find out and he finally works up the courage to do just that.  The person is Jen and she is also a third child.  Jen isn't afraid of the Population Police or of being a third child, though.  She is determined to make third and fourth and even fifth children legal ; and she wants Luke to help her.  Will Luke and Jen succeed or will they get caught by the Population Police before they have the chance?  To find out, read AMONG THE HIDDEN by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  (Kristen R., 8th grade student, Rundlett Middle School, Concord, New Hampshire)

Booktalk #2

Luke lives in a different society where each set of parents is allowed only two children. Luke is the third child and must stay hidden, never leaving the house, or he will be taken away by the Population Police. Luke discovers another third child, Jen, when he sees her face at a neighboring window. The two become friends through the Internet. Jen is trying to get all the "thirds" of the world to unite to get rid of the harsh population law. Can these two find real freedom from their lives of enforced secrecy? Will they be taken away by the Population Police, or will they meet some other fate of which they do not know? Read this book to learn their fate!  (Jeannie Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards)

Booktalk #3

Hi! My name is Luke.  I have a Mom and a Dad, and two older brothers, Matthew and Mark.  I've never gone to school.  Matthew and Mark have.  I used to be able to play outside, but Mom and Dad had to sell the land for taxes.  Now, there's a development next to our house, and I can never be seen. You see, I'm the third child in a society where you're allowed to have two children.  If anyone finds out about me, it will put my family and myself in grave danger. I can't even eat at the kitchen table anymore, so I'm sentenced to my attic, bedroom and looking out the vent in the ceiling that has become my world.  But wait!  I see a face, a child's face in a house where two boys already live!  Can there be another third child?  Do I dare leave my sanctuary and find out?  Read AMONG THE HIDDEN by Margaret Peterson Haddix to find out what happens to Luke. (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #4

This futuristic novel takes place in a time when the government has become much more involved in it's citizen's lives. Each citizen is give a ration card and the government keeps track of where the food is going. The government is trying to force everyone to become vegetarians because it's more efficient to use precious land to produce vegetables than to graze cows. Factories that make junk food have been shut down. Farmers, like Luke's father, are told what to grow, how much fertilizer to use, and where to take the crop when it is harvested. In another attempt to conserve food, Population Police regulate the size of families - each is only allowed two children. Some however, like Luke's parents, choose to disobey that law.

Because he is a third child, Luke's life is very different from that of this two older brothers. He can't go to school, can't play with other children, even his own relatives haven't been told of his existence. He can't watch TV or use the phone because they are monitored by the government. The only people he's ever talked to in his whole life are his parents and his brothers. Luckily, the farm and surrounding land have made it possible for Luke to occasionally go outside where he can play, hidden by the woods that surround the house. Then the government informs Luke's father that they are cutting the woods down in order to build more houses there. Suddenly, Luke's only means of hiding is gone - and with people now living right next door Luke can never go outside or even stand at the window and look out - for fear of being seen. Forced into exile in his windowless attic bedroom, Luke spends his days peering out of the small ceiling vents and watching life go on around him. Then one day, he sees a flash of movement in the house next door - in the middle of the day when all of the occupants are at work and school. For the first time, Luke realizes that there may be others like him. Now all he has to do is make contact.
(Susan Dunn, Colorado Blue Spruce YA Book Award, 2003)

Booktalk #5

Imagine a society were no pets are allowed, and only 2 kids to a family because of population problems. Luke is a 3rd child, an illegal child, a shadow child. He has to hide. He can't eat, or do anything with his family. He could play outside because the woods behind his house protected him from anyone. Then one day the government has ordered that the trees be knocked down and new homes be built. One day he notices a girls head poking out of a window of a home where he knows 2 kids already live. One day he sneaks over and meets Jen Talbot. Jen is also a shadow child. She introduces him to a computer support group. She plans on rallying at the white house to change the population law. To find out what happens to Luke and Jen, and the outcome of the rally, read Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix  (MM,  student Haddonfield Middle, Haddonfield NJ USA)
Booktalk #6

Luke is one of three children, but there are only supposed to be two children per family. His backyard is cut down and the 'barons' move in. He can no longer leave the house and must stay hidden in his attic room. Later on in the story he meets Jill, another third child. She explains to him about being a shadow child and how her father is one of those banning third children. She plans to get together with other third and fourth children at Washington, D.C. by starting a chat room. But things go bad and take a turn for the worse. Jill and around 45 others are shot that night. Luke didn't go with them, he was too scared. He waits for a reply from Jill or an announcement on the radio about the get together, but nothing shows up. He sneaks over to Jill's house one night and gets on her computer. Using the password to get into the chat room, he triggers an alert and is confronted by Jill's father. He explains to Luke about what happened to Jill and the others. He makes a deal with Luke and now Luke has a new identity. More will explained as the series continues. (Tracy Roope,, HCMS Library)

Booktalk #7

What would it be like to be in a world where every family was allowed only two children? What if you were a third child in that world? Luke is that third child. He lives with his parents and his brothers, Matthew and Mark, on a farm away from a city, where it is easy to hide. One day, bulldozers and machines cut down the nearby trees and a neighborhood is built next to the farm. Lukeís family must take extra care to hide him and it is frustrating for Luke. He can no longer go outside and breathe fresh air. He has to stay in his small, dark attic. One day, he dares to look through the shutters. He sees another kidís face in another supposedly empty house looking out, too! Should Luke try to find out who this other child is? What about the Population Police?  (Melissa Bowman,, Armstrong Middle School)

SUBJECTS:     Science fiction


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