Thursday, August 19, 2010

Waiting for Mockingjay

Have you read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire yet? I am not heavily into teen books, but I do read about 10 a year. One series that I really, really loved recently (along with the rest of the world) is the Hunger Games trilogy, of which the third book, Mockingjay, is coming out soon (but not soon enough). In fact, everything is coming up Mockingjay in anticipation of its release on August 24:

If you're thinking, "Whaaa?" right now, let me explain: Collins's scifi series is set in a post-apocalyptic future, in which twelve districts are ruled by the all-powerful Capitol. Every year, to remind the districts who's boss, the Capitol forces each district to send 1 young woman and 1 young man as a sacrifice to the Hunger Games, a sort of latter-day gladiator battle in a giant arena (each year a different landscape) - the last teen standing wins. When the book opens, Katniss Everdeen's sister's name is pulled for the District 12 (poorest) rep for the Games, and Katniss steps up in her place. She embarks on the trip with a young man who has always had a crush on her, as he has been chosen as the other rep from District 12. Will she win? What will happen if Katniss does? Will she have to betray her male District 12 counterpart? I can't keep writing, because if I talk about book 2, it will be a spoiler for book 1 if you haven't read it yet. Anyway, the books are suspenseful, obviously, but also touching, and complicated, and full of romance, politics, and psychological suspense.

Personally, my favourite recent pre-Mockingjay news was the SLJ interview with author Suzanne Collins. Below are two quotes I found particularly interesting, relating to her depictions of war in the trilogy:

"My father was career Air Force. He was in the Air Force for 30-some years. He was also a Vietnam veteran. He was there the year I was six. Beyond that, though, he was a doctor of political science, a military specialist, and a historian; he was a very intelligent man. And he felt that it was part of his responsibility to teach us, his children, about history and war. When I think back, at the center of all this is the question of what makes a necessary war—at what point is it justifiable or unavoidable?"

[....] "One of the reasons it’s important for me to write about war is I really think that the concept of war, the specifics of war, the nature of war, the ethical ambiguities of war are introduced too late to children. I think they can hear them, understand them, know about them, at a much younger age without being scared to death by the stories. It’s not comfortable for us to talk about, so we generally don’t talk about these issues with our kids. But I feel that if the whole concept of war were introduced to kids at an earlier age, we would have better dialogues going on about it, and we would have a fuller understanding."

I would add there are several "large" concepts that we could introduce to kids at an earlier age, in order to foster "better dialogues" and "fuller understanding."

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED the Hunger Games - couldn't put it down!