Haddix has begun another science fiction trilogy with Children of Exile. Rosi has always lived in Fredtown with here Fred parents and Bobo, her little brother. In Fredtown everyone is peaceful and works out conflict right away by talking it out. The kids are taken care of, go to school, and are allowed to play and make friends. Rosi knows that the Freds aren’t her real parents though. Her and Bobo and all the other children of Fredtown were removed from their original town because it was war ravaged and unsafe.

Suddenly, though, the Freds have now said that the kids are going to go back. And they don’t seem happy about it. Rosi tries to calm the kids down and uphold her values in her home town, but the grown-ups are very challenging to deal with. They are not very nice and none of them seem to know or care how to take care of children. And they seem to all hate each other. Rosi is ostrasized because of the color of her eyes and the shape of her nose. These things never happened in Fredtown and the children are scared. So is Rosi, but she is the oldest. She and Edwi, the other oldest child, whom Rosi doesn’t exactly like because he is a trouble maker, are the only kids who know something is going on and are determined to find out and protect the kids.

These courageous characters are immediately likeable and Rosi’s thoughts narrate the terrifying truths that start to emerge in their home town. The book is action-packed and fast-paced yet perfectly philosophical. The tone is thrilling and suspenseful with a simple writing style and strange plot twist (like Haddix’s other novels). There are great starting points for conversations about child welfare, parenting, how to fight rules that are wrong, why rules exist in the first place, war and its ethics, law enforcement, and government. This book’s ideas would be a good introduction to units on the Civil War, Holocaust, ethics, and government for late elementary through middle school classrooms.