Collaborative Classroom Blog

The Hunger Games: To Read, Watch or Not?

By Isabel Sawyer | Categories: Children's Literature, Teaching Tips

book cover of The Hunger Games

There has been so much conversation lately surrounding Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Should children read it? If so, how old should they be when they are allowed to? Should they see the movie? If so, how old should they be for that?

I was in an elementary school library the other day and a young sixth-grader came up to the counter to check out one of the few copies of The Hunger Games that the library had available for students. She had a friend with her. The librarian checked the book out for the young girl and then ominously warned the girl, Your permission slip has been signed by your parents; but your friend here has not had her permission slip signed. DO NOT GIVE IT TO HER OR LET HER READ IT.

As I watched the two girls listen to the librarian’s admonition, I saw their eyes widen. I remembered desperately and subversively reading forbidden books when I was young-Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, just to mention a few. Personally, I think The Hunger Games is a great read for sixth-graders so I was secretly hoping the student would sneak and share the book with her friend.

My 11-year-old son shared this with me (he both read the book and watched the movie):

In my opinion, children should be over 8 to read [The Hunger Games] because you visualize what the book is talking about according to your age. If you are only 7 or 8 you are not going to visualize like a 27-year-old thinks when he reads the book. So what you imagine is just not as bad. When I read books, I don’t imagine huge carnage and stuff. Fifth graders and up should be able to see the movie because the movie is really not that bad. It’s PG-13. I guess I kind of think it’s totally up to both the parents and the kids. The kids should decide about the book and the parents should decide for the movie since it is PG-13.

What do you think?