Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

9780439023528_custom-49e9c33a338d97f0abb78402bcdee9b1103f33a0-s6-c30Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Publication Date: 2008

ISBN: 978-0439023528

Genre: Science Fiction

Reading Level/Interest Age: 13 and up

Plot: Sixteen year old, Katniss Everdeen, lives in a futuristic dystopian America that is run by a tyrant (President Snow) in the Capitol. This futuristic America is made up of twelve districts – used to be thirteen until the Capitol had destroyed one of them due to their rebellious behavior – that are poverty stricken. In order to keep rebellion down to a minimum, President Snow holds the annual Hunger Games, which is a battle to the death between tributes. Two tributes – one boy and one girl – between the ages of twelve and eighteen are randomly selected from each district and then are sent into the battle ground that will be broadcasted to all of the country to watch. This year, Katniss is prepared to accept the possibility of being chosen until her younger sister (Primrose Everdeen) was picked out of the drawing and at that point Katniss was forced to volunteer to take her sister’s place. The male tribute that was selected was a baker’s son named Peeta Mellark. Together, they will discover new challenges that they never would have expected to face in the arena.

Critical Evaluation: There are certain literary elements that the reader must be aware of while reading this book. The various different conflicts in the book are important to understand. The dystopian government that oppresses all the citizens in the country is highlighting factor because this tyrannical leadership brings other issues such as poverty and starvation. In addition to the conflicts of the book, the tone/mood of the writing is a key factor in illustrating such a dark place. Collins has chosen appropriate descriptions to help create a gloomy and dark country where sadness is everywhere. Another literary element that is notable in this novel is Katniss’ character development throughout the book. She starts out as a strict survivalist who is aware of doing all there is to survive the games, however, her fellow tribute and their trainer, Haymitch Abernathy, start to devise plans without her knowledge. Throughout the training and the games, Katniss’ character develops new skills such as wooing the audience.

Reader’s Annotation: A fight to the death is about to begin in the annual Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen must do all she can to tackle this game of survival where she will then face challenges that she never would have thought she’d encounter.

About the Author: According to Wikipedia, Suzanne Collins was born in Hartford, Connecticut on August 10, 1962 and was the daughter of a military officer and, because of this, she was constantly moving. She attended Carver High School in Alabama and then studied at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, which is another high school as well. After this, she graduated from Indiana University with a double major in drama and telecommunications.

Collins’ official website, lists all of the different television programs that she has been a part of in the past. Mostly focusing on children’s programs, she has worked on many Nickelodeon shows such as Clarissa Explains it All, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, Little Bear, and Oswald. Eventually, she was persuaded into writing children’s books which lead her write The Underland Chronicles and then The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Curriculum Ties: Political issues/government, revolutions, and poverty.

Booktalking Ideas:

  1. Trends/characteristics between the Capitol and other oppressive governments
  2. The strategies that Katniss must use in order to woo the sponsors

Challenging Issues:

  • Teen violence
  • Dystopian government

Defensive Maneuvers:

  • I would be sure to study and memorize the library’s collection policy.
  • The Library Bill of Rights must also be brought to the challenger’s attention stating that the library is an information institution that provides both information and ideas.
  • Have both good and bad reviews (from respected sources) about the book at hand.
  • Remember to mention the awards and honors that the item has received.
  • Be sure to listen to the person who is challenging the book and do not interrupt them while they are speaking. Try to understand where the patron is coming from when he or she states their concerns about the material.
  • When you respond to the challenger, have a calm and respectable tone informing them that the library must do all that it can to provide intellectual freedom to its patrons, young and old.

Why this book? As previously stated, this book covers many different themes that other required literature incorporates (i.e. A Brave New World, 1984, and Lord of the Lies), but it is more understandable and entertaining to the young crowd.

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