"Among the Hidden" by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a compelling work of fiction for students in Middle School. This lesson includes discussion questions, pre and post-reading activities and suggested student projects.
Among the Hidden
Interest Level: Grades 6-8 Lexile Measure: 800L
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.9 DRA: 60
Guided Reading: W Genre: Science Fiction
In a journal or reading notebook, have the students write a few sentences about their favorite things to do on a hot summer day, a winter day with a fresh coat of snow on the ground, a warm spring day, and a cool autumn day. Tell them to write about things they like to do outdoors with their friends. Have them write about the best birthday party they ever had, or ever went to. Tell them to write about their favorite part of the school day. Ask a few students to share with the class. Then write the following statement on the board: Luke Garner is a 12 year old boy who has NEVER done any of the things you wrote about. Have a discussion about what it would be like if the students never had any of those wonderful memories they just wrote about.
Chapter 1 Literary Device- Simile
“He turned and walked into the house as silently as a shadow." Pg. 1
“Their absence made everything look different, like a fresh haircut exposing the band of untanned skin on a forehead." Pg. 3 (About the trees that were cut down in the woods)
1. Why is Luke worried that he will never get to go outside again?
2. Why do you think Luke has to hide?
1. What do you think might happen if Luke was seen by someone?
2. Why do you think pets are not allowed anymore?
3. Describe how Luke’s life is different from his older brothers’.
1. How does Mr. Garner approach Luke’s need to be in hiding? How does he respond to Luke’s unhappiness about it?
2. How does Mark try to make Luke feel better about the scene that occurred that morning in the kitchen?
3. What does Luke discover in his room?
4. At the end of the chapter, Mrs. Garner visits with Luke to try to comfort him. She tells him that things could be worse. How do you think things could get worse?
1. What is the bad news Luke receives in this chapter?
2. How does the author show Luke’s maturity over his horrible situation?
1. What bad news does the family receive in this chapter?
1. Why did the Garner’s tax bill go up so much?
2. How can you tell Mrs. Garner feels bad about Luke being stuck inside all day?
3. What is Mrs. Garner’s answer to their tax problem?
1. Name some things that Jen lives with everyday that Luke has never had.
2. How does Jen feel about Luke coming over to visit with her?
1. Think about the phrase Jen so casually uses to describe Luke when she checked him out on the computer, “you don’t exist." Describe how that probably made him feel.
2. Why did the government pass the Population Law?
3. What do you think about Jen’s plan for her rally?
1. What are Luke’s feeling about the rally?
2. How is the way Luke’s parents deal with his hiding different from the way Jen’s parents deal with her hiding?
1. What idea does Luke put in his father’s head about making money during the cold months?
2. How does Jen explain the discrepancy between the books and the internet articles she had Luke read?
1. Imagine moving away from your family and pretending to be someone else, just so you could have a normal life. Describe what that might be like.
2. Luke thinks about how every member of his family would handle having to be in hiding. How do you think you would handle it?
1. Why does the government tell Mr. Garner he can’t grow plants inside?
2. How can you tell Luke is worried about Jen’s plans for the rally?
1. How was Jen sure they wouldn’t run into the Population Police on their way to the rally?
2. How does Jen react when Luke tells her he is not going to the rally?
3. Who do you think is more brave, Jen or Luke? Explain your answer.
1. What does Luke mean at the end when he thinks to himself, “Hiding again?" (p. 115)
1. What is the surprise Luke gets in the middle of the night?
1. What do you think Luke’s plan is?
1. Who do you think came into Jen’s house after Luke?
1. What do we learn about Jen’s father in this chapter?
2. Why is Jen’s father so willing to help Luke escape?
1. Why does Jen’s father work for the Population Police? Do you agree with his reasoning? Explain your answer.
1. Why does Luke want a fake ID?
2. If you were Luke, would you take the fake ID? Explain.
1. Tell why Luke’s family is okay with his taking on a new identity and leaving the farm?
2. Do you think Jen would be proud of Luke’s decision? Explain.
Post Reading Activities
Post Reading Topics for Discussion
Courage – What makes a person a hero? What does it mean to be courageous? Choose the character you think is the most courageous and tell why.
Loneliness – Is loneliness the same as being alone? Think about a time you felt lonely. How long did it last? What changed to make you not feel lonely anymore?
Honesty – Is it ever okay to tell a lie? What must the circumstances be to make it okay to tell a lie?
1. Interview a Shadow Child: Make a list of questions you would ask a shadow child, and provide the answers they might give.
2. Make a Comic Strip: Choose an important scene in the book and depict it in a 4-6 panel comic strip.
3. Letter Writing: (Choose one)
- Write a one page letter from one character to another, discussing an important event in the book.
- Write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, as a shadow child, explaining what your life has been like, and why the Population Law should be removed.
4. The Sequel: Write the first chapter of a possible sequel to Among the Hidden. (There is a sequel that you might want to have your students read next.)
5. Compare/Contrast: Research totalitarian government and compare/contrast it to a democratic government.