Its 2035, and the gulf between wealthy and poor has widened. Kidnapping has
become a booming business and Charity finds herself in a perplexing abduction.
In the year 2035, a vast socio-economic chasm exists between the haves and the
have-nots. Thus, children of wealthy parents are schooled in established
kidnapping rules. Charity Meyers has been trained how to act "appropriately" if
she is kidnapped, but when it actually happens, nothing proceeds according to
the protocol. She watches her father die in a helicopter crash, sees her beloved
housekeeper chased into the woods, and witnesses her best friend risking her
life trying to find her. But all is not what it seems, and when Charity
discovers the true identity of her kidnapper, she is forced to make a
In Taken, people use cash due to the failure of technology to protect
online credit. They put microchips into their children due to the failure of
other technologies to keep them safe. Divide students into two groups and ask
one group to explain how technology makes our lives safer and easier. Ask the
other group to explain how technology contributes to our lack of safety and
makes our lives more difficult. Then have the groups debate the issue. After the
debate, have each student work with a partner to write and present a public
service announcement for some aspect of technology and its benefits or dangers.
Discussion and Writing
Charity looks at her vidscreen to read the papers she has written on
"The World Credit Crash," "Metric at Midnight, 2031," and "The Kidnapping
Industry." Is it feasible that our society could birth such issues in just a
few decades? What current news events could be a forerunner for these
Dessi confronts Charity about her relationship with Victoria and Albert,
saying that they are nothing more than slaves to her. (pp. 4648) He
presents some valid arguments, but Charity defends her feelings for the most
part. Does Dessi or Charity make the better argument? Why?
On Kid-to-Kid Day, the children from the Highlands must have their ID
cards checked. How do the ID cards protect the wealthy? Why are they
difficult to obtain? Are there equivalent issues today?
The children in the town of Mangrove do not openly welcome the kids from
the Highlands. Why do the kids from Mangrove resent the Highlands kids? How
could the Highlands kids have helped the situation? What do they do to make
it worse? How does Mickie Meyers gloss over the towns anger in her show?
Dr. Meyers quotes John D. Rockefeller, Jr., several times in the book.
"The rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind. And only in
the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed." (p.
101) How does this quote move Dr. Meyers to action? How does it help Charity
make her decision to go with her father?
When Charity asks Albert what his real name is, he tells her Mantlé,
which means liar. Why does he give himself this name? What is he lying
Patience and Hopewell show amazing courage when they take to the streets
of Mangrove to distribute fliers about Charitys kidnapping. Why would they
knowingly put themselves in danger? What happens as a result of their
Is the logic behind Dr. Meyerss plan to kidnap Charity valid? How would
Mickie Meyers have reacted if he and Charity had simply disappeared?
In the end, Dessi gets what he wantsan education to become a doctor.
What does he have to relinquish in order to accept the offer? Does he
"sell-out" to the masters? Why or why not?
When Charity makes a break from her old life, leaving Victoria is the
most emotionally difficult aspect. Why does Charity feel it necessary to say
good-bye to Victoria? Is Victorias reaction to Charity what you expected?
Will they see each other in the future?
Almost every character in Taken has a choice to make; they must all
decide, "Does the end justify the means?" Ask students to select a character and
chart the characters decisions. Ask them to determine if the characters
motives justify his or her actions. Then ask the students to present a
persuasive speech, assuming the voice of the character and convincing the others
in the class to agree with them.
Most people neither have access to nor knowledge of the most advanced
developments in technology. Ask students to research the future of technology
and speculate how it will affect them personally smart houses and cars, global
tracking devices, vidscreens, and other devices. Have them make a visual aid to
display a variety of technological advancements and explain how and when society
will have access.
Ostrich Eye by Beth Cooley; Divorce & Single Parent Families; Family
& Relationships; Contemporary Issues/Social Problems; Love & Romance
Grades 7 up.
After the First Death by Robert Cormier; Contemporary Issues/Social
Problems; Making Choices; Morals & Values in Conflict
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt; Fairness,
Justice & Equality; Courage & Honor
The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian; Contemporary
Issues/Social Problems; Morals & Values in Conflict
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Knopf Children's Books.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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