A Good Place to Start

February 18th, 2011 Books

I am originally from Wisconsin and can’t help but get caught up in a few discussions regarding what is going on with it all.  Many discussions between my husband and I tend to grab the attention of my boys, who are 13 and 11.  It is nice to be able to discuss, not argue, the many sides of politics and government and share it with our kids.  They are allowed to express their opinions and ask questions and we try very hard to keep it open and fair.

After tonight’s discussion I started to think about how more parents can get their kids talking about government and politics without being one-sided and how to open up the floor for a natural flow of discussion.  It can be overwhelming for kids to discuss certain topics and hot-button issues, so we as parents need to give our kids a venue for open dialogue.  It made me think of one series that I read when son #2 was in 5th grade last year.  Together he and I had read Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix, it is the first in a series of seven of The Shadow Children Series. When my son and I read together he instantly wanted to make a comment about what was happening.  It was a light bulb moment for me!  He was looking for discussion, not just on the happenings in the book, but current events that he was able to tie to the book.  It was incredible.  We quickly moved on through the rest of the series and still talk about the book when topics remind him of certain elements of the series.

I recommend The Shadow Children Series as a good place to start opening up dialogue between parents and kids regarding current events, government and beliefs.  The series is available at most public libraries and school libraries.  There are some great resources available for the books on her site!

The following is the summary of the plot, courtesy of  Margaret Peterson Haddix’s site:

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?

First of The Shadow Children Series

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Of Mice and MenAnimal FarmWhere the Sidewalk EndsThe Great GatsbyThe Catcher in the RyeTo Kill a Mockingbird

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