24 September 2011

Banned Book Week: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. ISBN: 9780439023481.

So about a year ago, this book was challenged by a parent in New Hampshire (link under the Banned image). The complaint being that her daughter, in 7th grade at the time, was having nightmares and the children were being exploited, having to fight each other to the death and all for "entertainment" purposes. First of all, congratulations on having a child who isn't desensitized and therefore had a proper response to this novel via nightmares.  Second, while the Hunger Games may have devolved into a form of entertainment for people in the Capital, and a couple of other Sectors, for the most part it was a very political method of keeping an oppressed population in line.

And while I agree that the slaughter, or even exploitation of, children for entertainment is despicable, sweeping it under the rug will not prevent it from happening or negate its existence. All that will do is create an atmosphere, or at least a bubble, of ignorance of the issue. Which, even though I disagree with this approach, is the right of a parent. Parents do have the right to allow their child(ren) to live in ignorance of certain issues up until that child reaches the age of 18... although most children over 13 have figured out how to get into whatever the hell they want to get into anyway and so by that age your only option is to keep them locked in the basement. I think that by 7th grade, children should be aware that bad things happen to young people and could potentially happen to them. I recognize that those are not comforting thoughts for a child, and really uncomfortable thoughts for a parent, but unfortunately we don't live in a world that is safe for everyone. So, even if you live in the suburbs of New Hampshire and your daughter hasn't been exposed to child on child murder/brutality or exploitation of children by adults, it might be best that she is aware that it does in fact happen in the world.

There are several reasons for this: it will allow her to form an opinion about it; it will allow you, the parent, to inform the opinion that she forms about it; addressing the fears causing the nightmare will be much more effective than ignoring or preventing those fears; and perhaps she will become impassioned by the idea of ensuring that the children of the world, our world, aren't subjected to the same fate as fictional children in a land faraway and once upon a time.

Let's be realistic. Raising our children with limited exposure to violence is still a privilege. If it is something that concerns you, as a parent, so much that you don't want your children reading about it -- in a safe and secure situation, nonetheless -- perhaps you can do more to tackle the real life problem rather than addressing its fictional counterpart. Because really, the real violence and exploitation should be far more distressing to you as a moral being than the fact that someone wrote about characters in a book killing each other. Working on it with your child may even help with their nightmares... Just a thought.

LibsNote: Previous read, blog posts can be found here.
*Banned Graphic provided in part by Barefoot Liam Stock, with permission.

because children died for "entertainment" purposes.


  1. I love banned books week on LibsLib!

  2. Why are you guys soo Happy its soo dumb cause You shouldn't be glad of holding a child from learning and also this book had a meaning and also a 7 year old child would take it soo for real... Gosh soo people just piss me off

  3. Learn what banned books week is before you post a stupid comment

  4. DANNYF'NHENRYMarch 2, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    shouldnt be banned!

  5. It disturbed me a lot and I'm in my 30's!


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