Monday, December 10, 2018

Children of Jubilee by best selling author Margaret Peterson Haddix [3-Book Series Giveaway]

Welcome to the Children of Jubilee Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of The Children of Jubilee (Children of Exile #3) on December 4th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from author Margaret Peterson Haddix and 10 chances to win the complete trilogy!

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

One of the joys of being a writer is that it means I have a good excuse to do all sorts of random research that might otherwise look like a waste of time.

And… this is where the practical side of my personality kicks in and forces me to admit: Okay, actually, sometimes a lot of the research I do is a waste of time. But I usually don’t know beforehand what is and isn’t going to be useful, so most of the time I approach research the way a puppy might approach a mud puddle: I jump in and roll around, and some mud/information sticks and some doesn’t, and either way, I’m delighted to be there.

For the Children of Exile series—which is concluding this winter with the third and final book, Children of Jubilee—I cast a very wide net with my research. For past series and standalone books, I’ve gone into the research phase with specific historical or scientific questions I needed to answer. But for Children of Exile, I wanted to think more broadly: What makes humans the way they are? What factors shape civilization? Is violence an innate part of humanity, or only a learned response? How would somebody raise kids specifically to avoid violence? How would somebody design a culture specifically for the good of children, not adults?

Those are all deep questions, and ones that scholars spend entire careers pondering. I could have looked for my answers in any number of academic disciplines—theology? Philosophy? Sociology? Education and early-childhood development? Psychology? In the end, I found the most help in a field I’d somehow overlooked when I was in college: Anthropology.

Two books in particular made me think about the questions I was asking in new ways, and so now I’ve been telling lots of people, “You should read this, too! It’s really interesting!”

The first book was THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE: WHY VIOLENCE HAS DECLINED, by Steven Pinker. His premise was that, despite the idea many of us get from recent news coverage, we may actually be living in the most peaceful time in history. Pinker’s approach partly was to remind us exactly how violent the past was, through examples such as 1950s advertisements for coffee that essentially endorsed domestic violence.

The second book was THE WORLD UNTIL YESTERDAY: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM TRADITIONAL SOCIETIES? by Jared Diamond, which looks at lessons from societies that for various reasons have not modernized and/or have managed to stay totally disconnected from the rest of the world’s influences. The book did not make me want to live off the land in, say, the Amazon or the Kalahari—I appreciate modern plumbing, modern medicine, and WiFi access way too much for that--but it did make me re-examine a lot of my automatic assumptions. At times, reading both of these books, I felt like I was flipping my brain inside out, viewing the world in a completely new way.

I don’t think anyone reading the Children of Exile series would ever be able to proclaim, “Aha! I can tell exactly which books the author read while she was researching this!” At its best, writing fiction is alchemy—it’s more like trying to spin straw into gold than following a formula. It’s not “research plus plot plus character plus setting plus skillful writing plus lots of revision” as much as all that multiplied by a lot of intangible epiphanies that I can’t explain except to say, “It feels like magic.”

Once, years ago, I attended a literary dinner where I happened to sit next to a man who admitted from the very beginning that he knew almost nothing about fiction, and even less about books for kids. He made an effort, though, and began asking about the book I was there to represent, Among the Hidden. He asked what the book was about, and after I was finished giving a quick description, he mused, “Wow, it must be really nice, having your job. Writing something like that for kids, you wouldn’t have to do any research at all.”

And I was instantly furious. In actuality, I had done so much research for Among the Hidden that I kind of thought I deserved a graduate degree in Population Control Issues. I’d read everything I could find about the One-Child population control effort in China; I’d studied lesser-known programs in Africa and elsewhere in Asia. I’d examined graphs and charts showing population statistics across centuries. Did I cite a single one of those statistics in Among the Hidden? No, of course not. I was writing a book for kids, not a graduate thesis. But did I feel I owed it to my readers to know that background information? Absolutely. If anything, the fact that my book was for kids made me feel an even greater obligation to do the research and be as accurate as possible in my depictions. Adults bring both life experience and lots of previous reading experience to any book they pick up; for kids, one of my books might be their first exposure to a topic, and so I feel that responsibility intensely.

With the research I did for the Children of Exile series, I don’t feel that I deserved any sort of new graduate degree in anything. I didn’t feel that I gained knowledge as much as more questions to ask. At the end of my research, I was still wondering:  What makes humans the way they are? What factors shape civilization? Is violence an innate part of humanity, or only a learned response? How would somebody raise kids specifically to avoid violence? How would somebody design a culture specifically for the good of children, not adults?

But that was okay. The research gave me a foundation for passing those questions on. If readers finish the series also wondering about civilization and violence and the nature of humankind, that’s great.

My research will have been worth it. Sometimes wondering is an ends in and of itself.


Blog Tour Schedule:

December 3rd — Beach Bound Books
December 4th — Ms. Yingling Reads
December 5thChristy's Cozy Corners
December 6thCrossroad Reviews
December 7th — A Dream Within A Dream

December 10th — Book Briefs
December 11th — Chat with Vera
December 12th — Bookhounds
December 13th — Java John Z's
December 14th — Unleashing Readers

Follow Margaret: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Kiandra has to use her wits and tech-savvy ways to help rescue Edwy, Enu, and the others from the clutches of the Enforcers in the thrilling final novel of the Children of Exile series from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Since the Enforcers raided Refuge City, Rosi, Edwy, and the others are captured and forced to work as slave labor on an alien planet, digging up strange pearls. Weak and hungry, none of them are certain they will make it out of this alive.

But Edwy’s tech-savvy sister, Kiandra, has always been the one with all the answers, and so they turn to her. But Kiandra realizes that she can’t find her way out of this one on her own, and they all might need to rely on young Cana and her alien friend if they are going to survive.

About the Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin series, and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at


  • One (1) winner will receive the complete Children of Exile trilogy: Children of Exile, Children of Refuge, and Children of Jubilee
  • US/Canada only
  • Begins December 11 and Ends January 4 at 12:01 a.m. EST
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLAIMER: Blog tour article material provided by the author and MMPublicity. Giveaway is hosted singularly here on Chat With Vera and books are provided by the author and MMPublicity and will be sent by them directly to the winner.


  1. "Visit the author's website and find 3 things that you find interesting about her life or her works." The author grew up in Ohio, the author was happy to have a baby sister, and she and her siblings grew up on a farm.

  2. I'd love to read this series! I teach 6th grade language arts and we used to read "Among the Hidden" every year before the district changed our curriculum.

    What I learned:
    She had a dog named Lassie.
    She worked as an assistant cook at a 4-H camp.
    She was in her school marching band.

  3. Wrote over 40 books, lived in multiple states, dog lover.


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