Frances Foster Books / FSG

""If I leave on Saturday, I'll never

get to know her--this girl from back then, those two days on TV.

trapped in our garage. But more: who she is now."

Suggested for ages 10-14

(Older readers are also enjoying HIDDEN.)


Awards and Honors and end-of-year lists for HIDDEN:

2012 ALA Notable Book

CCBC Choices 2012

2012 Bank Street Best Children's Books, Starred

2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins Children's Poetry Award Honor Book

2012 IRA (International Reading Association) Teachers' Choices

VOYA's "Perfect 10" List

Kirkus Review's Best Children's books of 2011

Fuse #8 (School Library Journal)

"100 Magnificent Children’s Books of 2011"

Richie Partington's "Best of 2011" list

Sylvia Vardell's "Top 20 Children's Poetry Books of 2011"

Paul Hankin's "Top ten plus 1" list of 2011 Middle Grade Fiction


State Award Lists and Nominations

2014 WINNER (!)

William Allan White Award

Kansas, grades 6-8

2016 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award (Illinois) nominee

2013-2014 Young Hoosier Book Award, Indiana

2014 New York State Reading Association’s Charlotte Award nominee

Read an interview here.

2013-2014 Virginia Reader's Choice nominee

2013-2014 Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards – Master List

2013-14--Georgia Book Award Nominee

2014 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice list

2013-2014 Mark Twain Readers Award nominee, Missouri

2012-2013--Maine Student Book Awards, Master List

2012 – 2013--Vermont: Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, Master List

2012 Texas Lone Star Reading List (middle school)

2012 – 2013--Maryland: Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee (grades 6-9)


Anita Silvey features HIDDEN on her Book-A-Day Almanac.


I love this conversation about HIDDEN, especially what she says about novels-in-verse and reluctant readers.

jenny's book review

"Frost’s writing is spare and tight, and feel like wisps of thought rising, drifting, and weaving a dance between two very different girls. The book is written in two voices, with Wren and Darra each speaking in her own meter, emphasizing their differences. The space on the pages leaves room for contemplation, and the verse plays almost like music. "


Here's a brief description of the story:

When Wren and Darra meet at age fourteen, they recognize each other instantly, though they’ve never actually met. It has been six years since something happened that affected each of them profoundly: Darra’s father stole a car and drove it home, not knowing that Wren was hiding in the back. Darra was the only one who guessed that Wren stayed hidden in their locked garage—how could she help Wren and still protect her father?

For Wren, hungry, thirsty, trapped and terrified, not knowing who to trust, the hours dragged on as she searched for a way out.

Now, in Cabin Eight at Camp Oakwood, each girl knows the other’s most private secret—and neither of them wants to talk about what happened.

For the most part, they manage to avoid each other—until their Lifesaving teacher introduces a game called “Drown Last,” and Wren and Darra meet underwater in an intense encounter that leaves them both gasping for air—and answers—when they surface.


January 1, 2012--something I wrote about HIDDEN, recalling it's origins and where it is now.

A love letter to HIDDEN

It's the first day of 2012, and I'm thinking of the long journey we have taken together.

Remember when your title was "The Watching Rock" and the story was set on the isle of Barra, a contemporary story, set in the place THE BRAID began? What would happen, I wondered, if a descendant of Jeannie returned to Barra, six generations later, and met a descendant of Sarah? I talked to readers of THE BRAID in an urban American middle school, and recorded their questions for readers who lived on Barra. Then I traveled to Barra and talked to a group of 12 - 14-year olds, who responded to the American students questions and told stories about their own lives.

And then Wren came to me, as my characters often do, in a dream-like image I have learned to trust--she first appeared to me as the girl who would go to Barra with her family. I was as surprised as anyone to see what she looked like, a little brown-skinned girl--yes, wearing a pink dress--sitting on the steps of her house. How unlikely, I thought--her parents were both archeologists--how many Black archeologists are there (quick research question: not too many, but some, of course) and how likely would it be that they would be doing research in the Western Isles of Scotland? Then, in a Barra shop, I found a book about archeology in the Western Isles, and there was a photograph of an archeological dig on Barra, with a Black archeologist, front and center in the photo. So, yes--I have to believe the intricate workings of the mind.

I don't know if I'll ever explore that original story more fully. Because here's what happened: Wren found a friend on Barra, and they sat together on a large rock (a glacial erratic, more fascinating research) day after day, while Wren's parents excavated the old village where Sarah and Jeannie were separated; Wren slowly started telling her friend the story of what had happened to her when she was eight years old. There was a cat named Archie who went back and forth between the rock and the village site.

The cat came with me when I realized that the story Wren was telling was more important and interesting than the one I thought I was trying to tell. Darra came into the story, and I learned that it was her story too.

I came to love these two girls, and trust the story as it unfolded--it took me on a wild ride at times (bless my very patient editor), but at each step of the way, I found good reasons to believe that it might have happened just this way.

And now the book is out in the world, finding its readers. A lot of smart people have loved it--thank you, if you count yourself among them. I'm enjoying seeing children find the hidden sentences and point them out to each other--that little, "oh, I see" moment. The "this is my favorite book" and "hurry up and write a sequal because I'm almost finished reading HIDDEN" fan letters.

Like a mother sending a child into the world, I want to tell "you," HIDDEN: I knew you could do it!


At the end of this

10-minute interview I read the first few pages of HIDDEN.


If you'd like to read about HIDDEN here is a good starting place: A Fuse #8 Production / School Library Journal. Elizabeth Bird reviews HIDDEN and compiles a list of other reviews and interviews.

Here are some direct links:

May 2011 issue of BookPage features an interview and article about HIDDEN.

CCBC Book of the Week

Richie's Picks

Peter Sieruta's blog features an especially thoughtful review of HIDDEN.

Bruce Black's blog, Wordswimmer discusses emotional equilibrium in HIDDEN.

Thoughtful review of HIDDEN on "Gathering Books".


Quotes from Reviews:

From VOYA--a "Perfect 10" Review (5Q, 5P)

Frost, Helen. Hidden. Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan, 2011. 160p. $16.99. 978-0374382216. VOYA June 2011. 5Q 5P J

A combination of poetry and prose tells the story of Wren, who, when eight years old, was accidentally kidnapped while she was in the back of her parent’s minivan at a gas station. “Frost is a master at letting each girl’s feelings unfold from when they were eight and when they meet again.” “Teen readers will be intrigued by the kidnapping that opens the story, which is told at a fast pace through straightforward poems.”

HIDDEN by Helen Frost. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May, 2011, $16.99, 9780374382216)

Beginning with a horrific story of an accidental kidnapping, this poetic novel is impossible to put down. Two eight year olds experience the event from totally different perspectives and are left with unanswered questions, anger, and fear. Years later, the girls meet and have a chance to finally face their feelings about what really happened. Frost in her notes at the end explains yet another way to read the story in her intricately constructed poems. Like finding a hidden picture within a picture, the second reading tells yet another point of view. A masterpiece!

Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink Children's Bookstore

From KIRKUS, Starred review, April 1, 2011:

Frost's tale exhibits her trademark character development that probes the complexities of intimate relationships. ...

Both tender and insightful, this well-crafted, fast-paced tale should have wide teen appeal. (notes on form) (Poetry. 10-16)


....Like Frost’s Printz Honor Book, Keesha’s House (2003), this novel in verse stands out through its deliberate use of form to illuminate emotions and cleverly hide secrets in the text.— Heather Boot


FROST, Helen. Hidden. 160p. Farrar/Frances Foster Bks. 2011. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-374-38221-6.

Gr 6-9–

... This original blend of crime tale, psychological study, and friendship story is a page-turner that kids will love...Wren’s captivity in the garage is truly suspenseful, and the various interactions of the kids at the sleepover camp are a study in shifting alliances. The book also touches on some deeper issues, like how you can love a parent who is sometimes abusive, and how sensitive kids can blame themselves for things that aren’t really their fault. Smoothly written, this novel carries a message of healing and hope.–Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL


If you're wondering if something like this story could really happen, here's an article about children left in stolen cars .

Above: hardcover edition of HIDDEN, with Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor Award sticker Below: William Allen White Children's Book Award: "A Worthy Contribution to Children's Literature, chosen by the children of Kansas, Awarded by the William Allen White Library, Emporia State University" October 4, 2014