One of the hottest books in the children books section is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins published by Scholastic, Inc. Not only is this book popular amongst kids, but their parents as well. There are waiting lists at libraries around the country for the three books that make up this trilogy.
In light of this weekend’s massacre, I was thinking that The Hunger Games is a book that is more relevant than ever. If you are not familiar with this book, you should be. The Hunger Games, while brutal, is in actuality a critique of a mindlessly violent society and the cost that violence renders. This book does more to show the constant child sacrifice to the altar of death that violence demands in a way that no other book in recent memory reveals. The Hunger Games critiques an overbearing and dictatorial government, the role of propaganda media has in continuing violence, and the herd mentality of people. Yet, the hero of The Hunger Games is a young girl of fourteen, Katniss, who becomes a revolutionary figure and decides to fight for her freedom against tyranny. The Trilogy consists of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and MockingJay. They are wonderfully, brilliantly, written. Everyone I know who has started the books, cannot put them down until they are finished.
While these books are considered “childrens books,” I would not allow anyone younger than high school to read them because of the terrible themes. I was told by a friend of mine, though, that her 10 year old son was encouraged by his teacher to read them! Evidently, teachers’ groups deem these books worthy for little ones. I do not agree. But parents should be aware so that they can defend the innocence of their children. It is especially ironic that our schools are pushing this when the very idea in this Trilogy is the critique of a culture of violence.