This semester, students in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature were asked to contribute a post to this blog.
By Justin Keplinger
As an English Language Arts teacher, I find it important to simultaneously encompass other topics covered in other subject areas. One way I do this in my classroom is through my students’ independent reading books.
The Hunger Games trilogy has been an extremely popular text with my students in recent years. The masterful combination of the simplistic form of the novels make it an easy read; the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale and the science fiction war theme have been able to capture my students’ attention in a way that few books have been able to in the past.
Though I am not a huge fan of the overused love themes in most adolescent literature, I found the reluctant love affair between Peeta and Katniss to be something unique in young adult literature. I think teens who are just beginning to understand romance would benefit from the understanding that love is not always instant but can be a gradual process like the love Katniss has for Peeta.
What I find great about this trilogy is that it parallels with the theme of war and social injustices prevalent in our current mainstream society. The rebellion against the Capitol is a problem being faced not only in this United States but all over the globe (i.e. Russia’s anti-gay propaganda). It is able to portray to students the inner workings of government bias and manipulation in a way that is engaging for the reader. Many students find their history classes cold and dry. However, reading books like this (i.e. 1984 by George Orwell and The Running Man by Stephen King) will help them parallel what they are learning in both subject areas.
Another innovative facet of the novel is the idea of the female heroine – not common in most books of this genre. It lends a hand for more girls on the secondary level to take a chance with science fiction and shows them what they can learn from reading more books like these.
Especially since Hollywood has taken the story and adapted it, I believe this story should be implemented in not just Language Arts classes, but in other subject areas as well. Each district seems to have it’s own biome, something that could be easily implemented in science classes. And as I previously stated, social studies can respond to the type of government exhibited and the social issues present.
This series has the potential to be an all-encompassing tool within each discipline if in the right hands of an imaginative educator.