Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. New York: Scholastic, 2008. ISBN-10: 0439023483; ISBN-13: 978-0439023481. 384 p.

Plot Summary
In the country of Panem, a future version of North America, the rich city of Capitol is surrounded by 12 poor districts. As a punishment for a rebellion decades ago, each year, all the 12- to 18-year-olds in every district are entered as possible contestants in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death broadcast on live TV. Only two people are chosen from each district, and when Katniss's sister Prim is selected, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Being selected is usually a death sentence for those in District 12, but Katniss finds that she has the skills that may help her survive. But can she deal with the person she will become if she kills others to save herself?

Critical Evaluation
Reminiscent of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, which Collins cites as a major influence, The Hunger Games succeeds at painting Panem as a cruel nation where the poor are marginalized and exploited for the benefit of the wealthy ruling class, while also creating a compulsively readable story.

Reader’s Annotation
Katniss Everdeen is chosen as a tribute in the Hunger Games, an annual fight to the death on live TV. Can she live with herself if she kills others in order to survive?

Author Information
Suzanne Collins has been a writer for children's television since 1991, for shows including Clarissa Explains It All, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, and Clifford's Puppy Days. While she was working on a show for the Kids WB network, she met a children's author who convinced her to try writing children's books. She is currently writing the third book in the Hunger Games series. Suzanne lives with her family in Connecticut.  Her website can be found at

Suzanne came up with the idea for The Hunger Games while watching TV. She says, "I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’s story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around, and on one channel, there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story."

Dystopian science fiction.

Curriculum Ties
History: slave auctions, Coliseum gladiators.

Booktalking Ideas
-Katniss's feelings when her sister's name is read as a tribute.
-Peeta's first declaration of love for Katsa.

Reading Level/Interest Age
Grades 9-12.

Challenge Issues

Challenge Defense
Become familiar with reviews, which are mostly very positive.

I included this book because


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