Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

catching fireTitle: Catching Fire

Author: Suzanne Collins

ISBN: 978-0-439-02349-8

Publication Date: 2008

Genre: Science fiction

Reading Level/Interest Age: 13 and up

Plot: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are the winners of the 74th annual Hunger Games, even though there really should only be one victor. The Capitol is not pleased with the end results of there being two victors because this shows that the government shows mercy which is the exact opposite effect of what the Hunger Games represents. The two winners have returned to their home in District 12 in hopes that everything will be the same, but, unfortunately, things are very different. There are rumors of a rebellion about to happen that both Katniss and Peeta indirectly created. With the government at their heels, Katniss and Peeta must do all that they can to convince the capitol that they both madly in love with each other or they will face some serious consenquences.

Critical Evaluation: The Capitol’s cruel ways are found to be more vicious in this particular book and can make the audience understand how far a government is willing to go to create order in a country. Collins has shown the audience how evil President Snow can get when there is any sign of rebellion starting with the victory tour of each district. The execution of the old man who whistles Rue’s call from the Games was a devastating event to witness. When Gale is caught poaching, he is arrested and receives forty lashes as his punishment, which was a surprising discovery for Katniss. The burning of the Hob (the district’s market of rare items) was another sign of the Capitol getting its way. Of course, the portrayal of the Capitol is a bit exaggerated and extreme, but it is important to understand how the government’s power can easily lead to drastic actions, especially those in developing countries.

Reader’s Annotation: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are the victors of the previous Hunger Games, but unlike most victors, they will be facing difficult challenges when they return home.

Author: According to Collins’ interview page in her official website, she mentions that she was the daughter of a military officer and, because of this, she was constantly moving. Collins’ biography page from her 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, while she was working the Kids WB show, Generation O!, she was persuaded into writing children’s books. After looking at the urban environments that she’s lived in she was inspired to write The Underland Chronicles, a five-part fantasy/war series. Later she then wrote The Hunger Games Trilogy, which is an international bestseller.

Curriculum Ties:

  • Political/government issues
  • Revolution

Booktalking Ideas:

  1. What countries have experienced governments similar to the Capitol?
  2. Which side would you be on?

Challenging Issues:

  • Violence

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? Similar to the first book in the trilogy, Catching Fire has the reader captivated and continues to do so with the many twists and turns that the author throws at you. Young readers will enjoy the emotional struggle and challenges that Katniss must face.

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