The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is one of the newer books to be added to the list of banned books. The challenge came to the Goffstown, N.H. school board from a parent claiming it gave her child nightmares and could numb other students to the effects of violence.
The Hunger Games, to the uninitiated, is a 2008 science fiction novel written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in North America. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, exercises political control over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death.
The Hunger Games has been translated into 26 languages, and publishing rights have been sold in 38 territories. The novel is the first in The Hunger Games trilogy, followed by Catching Fire (2009) and Catching Fire (2010).
Again, it’s not my cup of tea, but my grandchildren all loved both the book and the movie — and like all best sellers, it was transferred to the silver screen.
The novel tackles issues including severe poverty, starvation, oppression, and the effects of war among others. It deals with the struggle for self-preservation that the people of Panem face in their districts and the Hunger Games in which they must participate.
The citizens’ starvation and their need for resources, both in and outside of the arena, create an atmosphere of helplessness that the main characters try to overcome in their fight for survival.
The heroine, Katniss must hunt to provide food for her family, resulting in the development of skills that are useful to her in the Games (such as her proficiency with the bow and arrow), and represents her rejection of the Capitol’s rules in the face of life-threatening situations.
In the wake of Harry Potter success, Hunger Games is another good versus evil novel that kids are flocking to en masse. Rightly so. It has a young heroine, life or death challenges, and runs a gamut of emotions. Kids are reading it and talking about it.
Like Harry Potter, it’s just as much or more about the books as the movies.
Instead of challenging the book, open up a discussion about it. You might be surprised!