Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix is the first book in the Shadow Children series of novels that explore the lives of children who were not supposed to be born. In this world, families are forbidden to have more than two children.
Luke, the third child in his family, has only spent a few hours outside his house. He has never attended school and spends his days inside keeping to himself. He must be careful never to let himself be seen. Then he discovers a girl like himself living next door. The two meet and scheme to get the government to change the ruling. The compelling nature of children being forbidden and forced to remain in hiding engulfs young readers and hooks them to the end.
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo is a story of Joey, a farm horse, who finds himself in the middle of WW1. That fact alone hooks many young readers. Told by Joey, this story follows his journey into war and explores his relationships and friendships with the many people that come into his life. Along his journey, Joey encounters adults and loving children. His view of war and people present readers with unique views. From his beginning friendship with Albert, to his new master in the army, to the young girl in the French countryside, Joey's story holds young readers' attention.
These books, written for ages 8-12, treat readers to fast paced adventures and protagonists close to their own ages. All three novels novels have strong boy and girl characters. The concepts of friendship and trust presented in each story are ones easily understood by young readers. These books are sure to entice reluctant readers.