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WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

How do you feel about letting kids read The Hunger Games trilogy?

Asked by WillWorkForChocolate (22623 points ) March 20th, 2012

My 11 year old wants to read it and I’m considering it. I’m happy that she’s actually excited about a book series, but I don’t know how she’ll handle the drama of it. Personally, I got very involved in the story, and it took me a few days to crawl out of it when I was finished. It is a pretty dark, intense story.

Your thoughts?

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22 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

This is the first book my 12 yr-old wanted to read all by himself. He couldn’t put it down! We have had to beg and plead and order him to read everything else he ever had to read for school. But this book he read voluntarily.

Also it was for school. Sixth grade. Most kids are 11. So I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m even thinking of reading it, myself. Gotta get ready for the movie.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@wundayatta Oh, you should definitely read it, it’s a great series. At least get the first one read before you see the movie; there’s always so much material that can’t make it into the movies, and it’s nice to know what’s going on that you don’t get to see. =0)

ninjacolin's avatar

never thought reading material (novels) had age restrictions per se.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I read the series, and I wondered this as well. The books include some horrifically violent scenes. I am not sure what I would decide for my own child, if I were in that position. My experience as a child was generally that I would read just about anything I could get my hands on (whether written for kids or adults), and there are very few books that I wish that I hadn’t read (and many of those I read as an adult). Of course, if anyone tried to prevent me from reading something, that went to the top of the list.

Rarebear's avatar

My 11 year old daughter read them and she was fine.

geeky_mama's avatar

Our youngest daughter (middle child) fell in love with the Hunger Game series at age 9. It has inspired her to learn archery – and she’s re-read all three books no less than 4 times each. She is 10, about to turn 11 in April now.

We’ve seen this before with our older daughter…it’s as if one day the kids find something that really excites them and from then on they are “hooked” and love to read. If this trilogy could do that for your daughter – don’t pass up the chance to let her become a passionate reader.

With our oldest daughter – she fell in love with the Twilight series. This is was made her a reader – and after reading and re-reading Twilight she eventually moved on to be a voracious reader of all kinds of books.

We did worry a bit..Twilight had romance, vampires killing people and eventually sex (not graphic) in that series.. and we wondered if it was appropriate for a middle-school-aged girl.. But we read them, too – and everything else she fell in love with next I read, too.

Now, at 14, this weekend on our family road trip she sat devouring an 800 page (non-fiction) historical account of the King of Norway. I’m so thrilled she’s developed a love of reading and she’s certainly moved on from Twilight..she’d say she’s outgrown it. ;)

I agree with @dappled_leaves, too—yes, there is some violence in the series. There is death and there are moments that are even a bit scary. If you’re worried about how your child will handle the drama..read along in parallel. You can discuss it…even ask her if she thinks it’s gratuitous or adds to the story. By age 9 or 10 most kids can tell you what they thought of what they read..

Ultimately I guess it just depends on your parenting style and your daughter’s maturity level. I don’t know your daughter..but I have a Girl Scout Troop with 16 girls all grade 5 (so nearly all age 11). All 16 girls in my troop have already read the Hunger Games trilogy—most of them before they turned 10.

wundayatta's avatar

Girls! Makes me jealous. My son hates reading. What happened? His parents love reading and his older sister loves it, and except for “The Hunger Games,” he has resisted everything he’s had to read so far for school. He’s never picked up a book on his own. It’s not as if we haven’t introduced him to excitingly plotted novels.

He liked that series with Percy about the Titans and all. He enjoyed some series about Djinni. But those were read to him. Hopefully it’s just a brain maturity thing, and he hasn’t been ready to read up until now. Or his vocabulary was too small for the books he read.

There does seem to be a difference between boys and girls in willingness and joy in reading. Girls seem to get it younger. And maybe teachers respond to that better. Girls just seem like better students. That is not to say they are, but if they are better behaved, they might seem easier to handle, which teachers like.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@geeky_mama Thanks so much, your comment alone makes me lean more towards buying them for her.

@everyone else- I really appreciate your input!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate You might talk with her before she starts and let her know there’s some violent stuff in there and have her come to you if she has any questions. Kids see a lot of crap on TV, maybe it will not affect her.

dappled_leaves's avatar

“maybe it will not affect her.”

I think that would actually be the worse outcome. But yes, it would be good to get a discussion going about it.

Mariah's avatar

I think 11 might be old enough, depending on the kid. It certainly has a lot of violence and could strike a sensitive kid in a bad way.

Rarebear's avatar

My daughter doesn’t want to see the movie, though.

keobooks's avatar

I think parents don’t give enough credit for how much their kids can handle when it comes to reading. I probably wouldn’t push Hunger Games on a 9 year old, but if they asked I wouldn’t stop them.

I also think they’d be surprised to know that most kids I’ve worked with in the library have told me or their parents that they thought something was too mature for them and they stopped reading it on their own.

laineybug's avatar

I think you should let her read them. They’re some of my favorite books, and I read them all in about a week. It gave me a kind of new perspective on some things. Most eleven year old kids can handle the violence, and it’s an amazing book series.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@wundayatta If you do read the books, please come back and share your thoughts. I am a little disturbed at how easily people are brushing off not the violence, but the lack of reaction to that violence from their kids. Not just here, but elsewhere, too.

filmfann's avatar

11 is the perfect age for The Hunger Games.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Okay, thanks guys. I think I’m convinced.

Buttonstc's avatar

I just saw a Nightline feature about the movie and one description of the series (books presumably) was “Lord of the Flies” for the Millennial generation. Thats not such bad company.

As long as you’re reading it also and discussing it with her as she reads, I done see a big problem. But I do think its important that you get her feedback on her impressions about it. It could probably spark some interesting discussions.

jonsblond's avatar

My sons were reading some Stephen King at that age. They are now high honor students in high school and college. As far as I know they haven’t killed anyone.

Let the girl read! She’ll be fine.

Sunnybunny's avatar

My daughter has always been a reader and she will stop reading something she is uncomfortable with. When she was in early middle school she brought home a Stephen King book from the school library. I didn’t take it away from her, but I told her those books could be graphic and disturbing. I didn’t see her with the book again and when I asked about it a few days later she said she’d returned it to the library. Recently a relative gave her Interview With A Vampire which I haven’t read. I’ve read other Anne Rice books and had my doubts but I also remember what I was reading at her age. I asked her how she liked it and she said it was boring because the vampires were too serious and one of them was a pedophile. lol I don’t think she finished reading it. Like @keobooks said, she self-regulates her reading material.

Anyway, she was 11 or 12 when she read Hunger Games and loved that whole series which surprised me because at the time she hated to read books where characters died. I read them too and we can’t wait to see the movie.

kimmy1408's avatar

My son is 9 and he is on the second book of the series, I had read them all before I let him read them. He is in the third grade but reads at a 6th/7th grade level so it is hard for me to find something that will: 1) Be at the right level 2) interest him and 3)not be too much for him i.e. violence/sex/etc.
He loves the books and I think the most intense ideas in the book so over his head so it has not really affected him. He doesn’t really see it as a post“america” book as more of a fantasy idea.

wundayatta's avatar

We saw the movie and my daughter’s biggest peeve about it was that the fonts for the titles were all wrong.

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