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All Good Children

Orca 2011. 304 pages
First published: 2011
ISBN: 9781554698240 (hardcover)
9781459813878 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Dystopian

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, figurative language, point of view, setting, stance

Awards

Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award – 2012
The Forest of Reading – The White Pine Award (Fiction) Nominee – 2013

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

New Middletown is a model of efficiency, built by a corporation called Chemrose at great expense. Nothing here comes as much of a surprise: “everything in town is the same age, same style, same colour.” When 15-year-old Max returns after missing the first week of school, something seems off: the local children are becoming colourless too—preternaturally well-behaved—thanks to the mysterious “New Education Support Treatment.” He and his sister are spared, as well as a few classmates, but they can’t pretend forever to be “zombies” like everyone else. They hatch a plan to escape.

Despite his tendency to get into trouble, Max is a likeable protagonist and first-person narrator, passionate and loyal; his voice is natural, accessible and compelling. The dystopia that is the northeast United States in the middle of the twenty-first century is thoughtful and thought-provoking: enough money will buy “ultimates,” genetically superior children; the site of a chemical disaster, dubbed Freaktown, has become the subject of a bleak reality show. Everyone is perpetually glued to a Realtime Integrated Gateway—RIG—a kind of all-encompassing digital device.

This novel celebrates the necessary mischief of childhood, examines the nature of happiness and warns of the dangers of relinquishing civil liberties.

  •  The text presents a society that has suffered an economic and environmental crisis. The texts lends itself to the analysis of the fictional dystopian world and the events that led to its creation. Readers can then make connections to social and political issues in their own world.
  •  In small reading groups, consider the world Maxwell inhabits. Consider the society with its social conventions and make connections to today’s world.
  •  

    Include the book in a text set for an inquiry or genre study that considers dystopian futures in YA literature. Use an inquiry process to choose a topic and research an inquiry question. Share your findings through a multimodal presentation.

  •  

    In a small group, discuss which world you would you rather live in: one where there is no crime, no hate, no stress and full employment, and everyone behaves in the same orderly way; one where there is crime, a wide spectrum of emotions, instability and uncertainty, and everyone behaves unpredictably.

  •  The book is divided in two major parts. As you read Part 1, look for clues that indicate what will happen in Part 2. At the end of Part 1, make a prediction for each major character.
  •  Summarize and retell Part 2 from Ally’s point of view.
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Sciences