Among the Hidden (Shadow Children Series #1)

Among the Hidden (Shadow Children Series #1)

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke, an illegal third child, has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm in this start to the Shadow Children series from Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.

Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.

Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows -- does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689848070
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 06/12/2002
Series: Shadow Children Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 63,673
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
File size: 7 MB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin 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

Reading Group Guide

About the Book

"A chilling and intelligent novel," is how Kirkus Reviews described Among the Hidden. "Haddix offers much for discussion here." In a society that allows only two children per family, Luke is a third child, a "shadow child." He's illegal, strictly forbidden. So he stays hidden, alone most of the time and frightened all of time. Then one day he discovers another shadow child, Jen, living in one of the fancy new houses that the government built behind his family's farm. Luke and Jan quickly become friends, but Jan is bold and daring and she wants more than companionship from Luke. She wants him to be a crusader, another third child willing to risk everything for freedom. "An exciting and compelling story," wrote School Library Journal. "Readers wiII be captivated by Luke's predicament and his reactions to it."

Discussion Topics

  • The author doesn't specify the setting for Among the Hidden. Where do you think it takes place? When do you think it takes place?
  • Luke's family is terrified of the government. Why? What are some of the tactics the government employs to make ordinary families like his feel powerless?
  • Explore Luke's relationships with his brothers and his parents. How close are they? How trusting? Does Luke have more in common with Jen than with his own family? Why or why not?
  • The Internet made it possible for Jen and, later, Luke to connect with other hidden third children. It helped them build a community of peers. Do you use the Internet to connect with people who share interests with you?
  • What do you like about friendships formed over the Internet? What do you dislike?
  • Why did Jen organize the march on the president's house? Do you think she knew she was going to die? Was she being noble? Was she being foolish? Luke decides not to follow her. What would you have done?
  • Jen is a third child, but her stepfather is a member of the Population Police, the brutal organization devoted to discovering people like her and bringing them to a harsh justice. Discuss his character. Is he a hero, a villain, or both? What do you think and why?

Activities and Research

  • What would happen to your family if third children and beyond were outlawed? Would you have been born? Would your parents or your grandparents? Make a family tree. How many relatives would have to be taken off if there were no third children?
  • Among the Hidden is fiction. But the most populous country in the world, China, actually does have laws that strictly limit family size. Find out more about China's effort to reduce its population. How are the laws enforced? How sucessful have they been? Are these laws popular or unpopular among the people?
  • The government in Among the Hidden is totalitarian. The government of the United States is democratic. How do these forms of goverment differ from one another? If possible, invite an elected official to come speak. What are a citizen's rights and freedoms in a democracy? How are they preserved and protected? How are they threatened? Could what happened in Among the Hidden happen in our society?
  • You are the chief propaganda officer of the Population Police. Create a bumper sticker or billboard reminding ordinary citizens that third children are against the law.
  • Imagine that fifteen years have passed since Luke left home. Where is he now? What is he doing? Is it still illegal to be a third child? Compose a letter he writes home to his parents. Are they still on the farm?

About the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of four other books: Leaving Fishers; Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey, Just Ella; and Running Out of Time. She has worked as a copy editor, a reporter, and a college instructor. The second child in a family of four children, Ms. Haddix grew up on a farm in Ohio. She now lives in Ohio, with her husband and their two children.

Look for Margaret Peterson Haddix's new novel, Turnabout, in Fall 2000.

Customer Reviews

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Among the Hidden 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 959 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Best book. I really want to read all the books. I loved it. But the ending is so sad. It made me cry. But really good book. I recomend it to any fifth or sixth grader!
LAPROJECTDUDE More than 1 year ago
Among the Hidden by Margaret Haddix created a wonderful reflection on the future. Not only will this book want you to read more of the book, after the ending, you will want to read more and more of this epic series called, The Shadow Children. This book is for kids who want a quick easy read and someone who is looking for and on going series (eight books).
In this capturing book, Haddix makes the future seem even darker then it already seems by enforcing the Poplulation Law which limits each family to a meager two children. Usually a family follows the law, but some of the daring have an illegal third child. these illegal third children are called shadow children. Luke, the main character is known as one of these shadow children. In Among the Hidden, Luke has to hide out in his house by himself, avoiding contact with windows light, or anything that could seem suspicious. After a few days of looking out of his vent (no one could see him there) he notices a flickering light in one of his neighbor's window knowing that all the family was gone. This new possiblity of a shadow child living next door gives Luke new hope. This new hope inspires him to brake into his neighbors new home and meet his new friend Jen. These two shadow children struggle to find what is actually right. Staying in or fighting for their right.
Other books from this grabbing-of-a series include Among the Imposters (book number two) and Among the Betrayed (book number three). Again, this book is a quick easy read and might not be that great for someone who wants to get into a big book, but for those of that kind, there is the on-going series this book is a part of.In this breath- catching, suprise-ending, epic novel Haddix gives the reader a dark, murky reflection of the not-so-far-away future. And does it triumphuntly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book in the whole wide world. If you like the hunger games this book is for you. You will be biting your nails near the middle and the end. The ending is also very suprising. It is about the population law that you can not have over two kids. If you do they will be killed. So allthe third children have to hide from everyone so the population police will not find out. I reccomend this book to fourth firth and sixth graders. I hope this helped!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An awesome book,couldn' t put it down till i finished it"!!!!!!!!!!! Read it!"!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would reccomend this book to anyone who loved the hunger games or little house on the prairie! You will fall in love with Luke and feel his emotions as he tells you his story. I cried and laughed and overall loved this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading the book with my class and i luv it! I will start to read it, and then when class is over, Ill forget what im even doing! Im to focused on the book because its so full of mysteries and I just cant describe how good it is! I hate the population police, the government only lets you have two children or they take away your third. SO WRONG! To even have a third you have to hide him away. Here's a short summery of the book. Luke is a third child who is growing up hidden because of the population law. The woods around his familys farm is being cut down and alot of barons(rich people) move in around there. Luke risks his life to go to another family's house where he thinks he saw another third child. Luke meets the third child and she wants to stand up against the government to get the same rights as legal people. Read the book to see if the do or dont get their rights.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was in middleschool, and reread it again since my students never heard of the series. I cried my eyes out, and its definitely one of my favorites. Best for a quickread, those who like adventure, suspense, and a tug at your heartstrings. Definitely give this a try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My fifth grade class enjoyed this book. It took a while to get into the "meat" of the story and they got bogged down with it but the story and premise were good.
GracieLou-MCReading More than 1 year ago
"Among the Hidden', Written by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a science fiction novel from The Shadow Children Series. It is filled with solutions and adventures that you think are working out in one way, but in reality are working just the opposite. It describes the characters feelings and what the author is telling you. Reading "Among the Hidden" produces so many thoughts that made you want to read more. Luke, an average teenager, has been stuck in his attic hiding from what they called Population Police. The Population Police have forbidden parents to have a third child. Luke always wanted to be free, but while sitting on his bed in the attic, he saw this face in the neighbor's house where he knew nobody should be home. Later in the book, while Luke's parents are out, he goes over and finds that he is not the only child hiding, and there is a girl who lives next door. Problems come along and in the end Luke moves and gets a fake i.d. The Shadow Children Series has a sequel of books that just get better as you add on more problems. I recommend this book to a variety of children from ages 11 to 18. For those parents who do not like their children to be reading about somebody just being killed, then I do not recommend it. The way Margaret keeps adding problems, it makes you not want to stop reading. I read half the book in one day. In the begging it is a little hard to get into, but it was an awesome book after about a quarter of the way through. Before I read this book, I didn't really like reading, and now at home I am getting in trouble for doing nothing but reading. If you are a teacher and have a student that doesn't like reading, I would definitely recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book out of all the books I have read is the most descriptive, hard griping, enjoyment book yet! (and forever)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best bok ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :~)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are so many twists and turns in this book. You feel like you are on a super crazy rollercoaster.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The whole series is amazing! U should all read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im reading this book at school so fare really good book. I hope that the little secret changes read this book you WONT put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great but i do have a warning-it is sad and i couldnt fall asleep after i read it and i am a sixth grader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loveed it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im still reading but so far this book is amazing! I believe that this book is a good suspense book because the relationship betweeb Jen and Luke is remarkable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book!!!!!! I give it thumbs up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book out of the libray not knowing this book. But as soon as i started reading i got sucked in. I lllllooooovvvvveeee this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recomend this thrilling series. I couldnt stop reading it. Theres so much suspence through the series you are sad when youve completed it. Haddix has many other great books like the found series. These series are must reads!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love to read! This book has so much suspense and action in it that most people that can say they read this will say they were sliding off the edge of their seats the entire time while reading this book! It is about the population law where you are only legally aloud to give birth to 2 children because at the time people were afraid there wouldn't be enough food, drink, and clothing to nourish and support all the people so they had to make restrictions. Only in some families were there third and fourth children and they call these shadow children. These children have to hide their whole life and are unable to see the outside world! This is such a great book I would recommend this book to people of all ages!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible. I read it several times and never once got sick of it. We were also required to read this book in language arts this year, and I don't know of anyone in my class who didn't enjoy it. It's very suspensful and definatley one of my favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Among the Hidden was a great story to see what might happen in the future. In the future a family is only allowed to have two childen in a family if a family had three kids the third kid would be killed if they are found by the police. There is an 11 year old third child who0 had never been outside for a long time because the forrest behind his house and turn down and new houses were built. One day he was bored of being in his house 24/7. He would keep track of the people how live in the houses. One day all the parents and two childen left and he saw someone in one of the houses. The next day he got the guts to go see who was in the house. He heard someone on a computer typing away and peeked in and saw a girl. He got to know her and she was also a third child.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like books that has an ending of a chapter saying somthing that makes you want to go on to the next chapter, than this is the book to read. This book has so many twists to it that you want to keep reading it. Hope you like it.