Racism and The Hunger Games?

When I was looking at my Facebook newsfeed this evening I saw that a friend had posted this link: Racist Hunger Games Fans Are Very Disappointed.

Intrigued, I clicked on it and checked out the article on Jezebel.com.  Apparently people who saw the movie this weekend (I have yet to see it) were upset by the fact that Rue and other characters were black.  The article points out that in the book several of the characters are described as having dark skin.  So it made me think- did I picture these characters as black?  Did I picture them as white?  I honestly can’t remember.  But I can also say I don’t ever remember watching any movie, tv show, etc and being disappointed by the race of the actor cast in a role.  In many stories in fact I think race can be somewhat of a non-issue.  The Hunger Games doesn’t take place in a specific country or even a time that we can relate to so I don’t see race as we see it even being an issue to be discussed.  It’s a great story with great characters.  I’ll reserve judgement on the movie itself but this article is truly frightening to me.  If these are the opinions of our youth, of the future leaders of our country, and if they feel comfortable enough expressing these seemingly racist views then we still have a LOT of work to do in regards to race relations.

 

I’ll step off my soapbox now and hopefully will see the movie next weekend and will post a review.  I’m still working on finishing 13 Reasons Why  and The Book Thief which will also be forthcoming reviews!  Thanks for being patient!

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Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins


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Review:

The final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy did a great job of tying ending the saga.  I felt like most of my questions were answers, though some new ones were brought to light.  I think leaving some things unanswered allows for healthy debate among readers.  With all that being said this was my least favorite of the books.  I can’t put my finger on why, but it is what it is.

Overall this is the best YA series I’ve read and I recommend it to anyone who will listen!  What was your overall impression?

 

The Lowdown: (from Scholastic.com)

Interest Level: 6-8  (As with Catching Fire I think this is a little off- I’d say more 7-10)
Grade Level: 5.4

Teaching Resources:

Book talk and Discussion Guide available from Scholastic.com

AWARDS:

#1 USA TODAY BESTSELLER

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SERIES

#1 WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

#1 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLING SERIES

NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF 2010

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’S BEST BOOKS OF 2010:
CHILDREN’S FICTION

A BOOKLIST EDITORS’ CHOICE, 2010

A KIRKUS BEST BOOK OF 2010

NPR BEST BOOKS OF 2010

A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE

A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR’S BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2010

BARNES & NOBLE BEST TEEN BOOKS OF 2010

AMAZON BEST BOOKS OF 2010:
#3 ON CUSTOMER FAVORITES LIST

NY Times Article on Dystopian Themes

When I saw the name of this The New York Times “Room for Debate”, “The Dark Side of Young Adult Fiction” in my Google Reader I was instantly intrigued.  The New York Times has an online segment devoted to teaching and learning and that is where I found this article, “Dark Materials: Reflecting on Dystopian Themes in Young Adult Literature.” Take a look- what are your thoughts?  Have you explored these themes in your classroom?  If not maybe some of the lesson ideas will allow you to do so.  I’m definitely bookmarking this page for future reference.

Dystopian YA Novels for Teens:

The Giver- Lois Lowry
The Hunger Games (trilogy)- Suzanne Collins
Ugles (series)- Scott Westerfeld

Dystopian Novels:

1984- George Orwell
A Brave New World- Huxley

Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins


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Review:

LOVE.  This sequel to The Hunger Games definitely expands upon and lives up to the first book of the trilogy.  Following the lives of the characters post Hunger Games we continue to be invested in their fates.  I was hooked from page one, and read this book very quickly.  I finished it on a snow day- and was SO upset that I didn’t have Mockingjay at my apartment with me.  A complete page turner, the ending made me very eager to read the next, and final book.

As with The Hunger Games I see this book appealing to both male and female readers.  As I mention below, Scholastic has the interest level being grades 6-8 but I feel the themes and content are more appropriate starting at 7th grade and going up to 10th (for in the classroom- older students would also enjoy it!).

The Lowdown: (from Scholastic.com)

Interest Level: 6-8  (I think this is a little off- I’d say more 7-10)
Grade Level: 5.4

Teaching Resources:

Book talk and Discussion Guide available from Scholastic.com

AWARDS:

#1 USA TODAY BESTSELLER

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

#1 WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

#1 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER

A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE

TIME MAGAZINE
TOP 10 FICTION BOOKS OF 2009

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’S BEST BOOKS OF 2009:
CHILDREN’S FICTION

A PEOPLE MAGAZINE (TOP 10) BEST BOOK OF 2009

A LOS ANGELES TIMES BEST CHILDREN’S BOOK OF 2009

A BOOKLIST EDITORS’ CHOICE, 2009

A KIRKUS BEST BOOK OF 2009

AN AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
BEST BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS SELECTION

#1 YALSA’S TEENS’ TOP TEN, 2010

NYPL “STUFF FOR THE TEEN AGE” LIST, 2010

2010 CHILDREN’S CHOICE BOOK AWARD
TEEN CHOICE BOOK OF THE YEAR WINNER

2010 INDIES CHOICE AWARD WINNER–YOUNG ADULT

TOP 10 ON THE FALL 2009 CHILDREN’S INDIE NEXT LIST

BARNES & NOBLE BEST TEEN BOOKS OF 2009

BORDERS BEST BOOKS OF 2009: TEENS

AMAZON BEST BOOKS OF 2009:
TOP 100 EDITORS’ PICK
TOP 10 BOOKS: TEENS

The Hunger Games Poll #1

As I gear up to write my reviews of Catching Fire and Mockingjay I have come up with a few polls to keep you entertained.  Here is Poll #1: (If you post a comment, please don’t post any spoilers for those who have not read the books yet)

End of the Year

December 31st is fast approaching.  I plan on having finished reading Nothing But The Truth by AVI and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  As I mentioned before I am reading NBTT with a literature group in my classroom.  Catching Fire I started on Friday.  I am more than halfway through, and am LOVING it.  I can’t wait to finish it and start reading Mockingjay.

I also hope to get 2011 off to a good start with reading while on my girls trip to Las Vegas for New Years Eve.  We’ll see how that goes!

NaNoWriMo= No More

Due to a forced transfer at work and all of the stress and chaos of changing jobs I just can’t devote the time to NaNoWriMo that I had intended.  I may still keep working on the novel that I started intermittently but I can’t do anywhere near 50,000 words by the end of the month.

That being said I am going to be putting more effort into getting some reading done and bringing you all as many reviews as possible in the upcoming weeks.  Especially since I recently bought the 2nd and 3rd books in The Hunger Games trilogy!   I can’t wait to see what happens in the books!