Friday, February 25, 2011

Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Recommendation: Recommended

The first in the Shadow Children series this book introduces us to Luke and his family. Luke is a shadow child, a third child in a time when the government allows only two children per family. Luke has spent his 12 years of life in hiding and now that the woods behind his house are being removed and a housing development is going up he is confined to the upstairs attic all day by himself. One day, after everyone in the new neighborhood has left he sees something in the window of one of the houses, just a quick flash of what appeared to be the face of a child. Taking a huge risk he goes over to the house and meets Jen, another shadow child. They develop a friendship and Luke learns about sacrifice and freedom.

Positives: I liked the way the author handled a difficult subject. When I first heard about this series I thought it might be a bit too intense for my 11 year old, but he has enjoyed the entire series.

Negatives: There is a lot of negative talk about “the government”. It is always spoken of generically, however they are frequently referred to as incompetent and stupid. There is also the fact that Luke disobeys his parents.

Talking Points: I would use the items mentioned above as talking points. What does the Bible say about how we are to respond to authority? Ephesians 6 talks about authority structure in the family and workplace specifically and Romans 13 tells us to submit to the governing authorities (because all authority comes from God). Specifically Romans 13:7 tells us to give respect to whom respect is due. Depending on the maturity of your child, you could also discuss the ideas in the book regarding population control. Make them aware that in other countries the government does make laws regarding family size. How do Christians there respond? In the Bible we have the story of baby Moses (Ex. 2) and how Pharaoh had decreed all baby boys to be killed, yet Moses was hidden and kept alive. Of course there is a difference in that story where the children were to be killed after they were born, unlike the unlawful children in this novel. Again, discuss the role of government as God-given authority.

Age Level: 10 and up

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