I read this book when it came out, waited patiently for book 2 and impatiently for book 3. I got two book clubs to read The Hunger Games, with very diverse feedback. It may not be for you or your children – which is why I think you should read it. You’re the grown-up in the family and your children may read it at some point without telling you, and as a parent, you’ll want to be a part of the cultural conversation and help your kids process the book.
That aside, here are five points for deeper discussions I think you can have with your kids from The Hunger Games.
1. Suffering and injustice exist. In a NYT article, Suzanne Collins’ literary agent was said to have called her when she read book three and an innocent character is killed. Collins’ response was, “This is not a fairy tale; it’s a war, and in war, there are tragic losses that must be mourned.”
2. Life may not unfold the way you plan. Pain and wounds from the past can coexist with deep love and true peace in your life.
3. There are many kinds of love. In the midst of such an extreme environment, many positive relationships can prevail – ones stronger and more complex than who sides with Team Edward or Team Jacob.
4. A better world requires personal sacrifice. The Hunger Games is fictional, but like all science fiction, it makes us see our own world through a different lens. The people in the Capital are clearly guilty of systematic desensitization. To what injustices or conflicts – born from the factions in United Nations to the cliques in the lunchroom – are we turning a blind eye?
5. Good stories are worth reading, regardless of genre. This may be the “gateway” book for many people who have never read science fiction, especially as dark as this series. But a well developed main character and a well developed storyline stand out regardless of medium or genre.