The Population Police – an intriguing concept for middle-grade readers.
In her book “Among the Hidden,” Margaret Peterson Haddix explores the idea of a world where the government, fearful of a food shortage, dictates that families only can have two children.
But, you know how people are. They don’t always follow directions. They go ahead and have a third (or maybe a fourth!), and then they spend these children’s lives trying to conceal them from view for fear the Population Police will find them.
Luke, the main character, is a third born. He watches his brothers, Matthew and Mark, ride the school bus, work on the family farm and eat dinner at the kitchen table. Luke is relegated to a windowless room in the attic, eating dinner on the bottom of the attic steps and speaking to no one but his family.
He is alone. He is bored. His anger starts to grow. But … as he peers through an attic vent, he thinks he sees the face of a child in a neighbor’s window – a child he’s never seen before.
Are there other third children keeping hidden in the world? Luke’s journey is intriguing as his world expands from his own home to the much broader society while he finds his place in it.
The book is the first installment of the Shadow Children series and a great read for fourth- through eighth-graders.