Reub's journey

10 October 2011

Horrendously addictive page-turner

My job as an art teacher takes me a lot of places. Because art is such a broad, inclusive, and evasive area, it is rarely possible to stick to a lesson plan; you can start one place and end up in quite another. One topic that I often explore with the kids I see (ages 11-14) is what books they are reading.

 For the past two years or so, the books of choice have been The Hunger Games, a trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and the first of which I recently finished. I was given a copy of this book over a year ago, and didn't want to read it:  dystopian young adult fiction in which children kill children, while they all starve,  in the reality show from hell. So awful.

But, egged on by my students and a punk rock musician that I adore (did you know that some punk rockers read voraciously, are vegetarians, and have a keen sense of social justice? And work in middle schools?)...I just devoured the first book. Wow.  I finally get it, and have been talking with kids for days about the book. This is a book about class warfare, social injustices, the nurturing of family, the beginnings of love, the manipulation of the media. It is a horrendously addictive page-turner based on the legend of Theseus.

What kind of kid reads this book? A boy who lives with his dad and goes hunting every weekend; he just shot a buck (once, through the head) and is proud of the venison, this boy just got his dad to buy the book because of crazy discussions he has heard in class...the heroine of the story survives because of her hunting skills. A beautiful child from Israel, who has read the whole trilogy and can barely stop herself from saying what happens next, how the scared young survivors face a world that seems turned against them. A girl, who (just like me) has a birthday this next weekend, and who hopes to get the second book as a gift. I promised her that if she didn't, she could read my copy. Tired of waiting in a queue of 40 at the public library, I just ordered it.

It will be a movie in just a few months.


  1. I've never heard of it but will see if my library has it. They participate in a share program and I've gotten several books from other parts of the state through them.

    So how does what they read affect what they do in art class? A class I took whenever it was offered to me.

  2. Ellen: Get the book. Read it & let me know what you think.

    I don't know if what they read affects what they do in class; that's a really good question. But books are about being able to imagine something, and about seeing pictures in your head, so I figure it is related to visual art. There are a few kids who are very absorbed, visually, in books. Especially the manga/anime crowd, but there are others as well. It's always very hard to draw what you picture in your mind from reading something; it's often disappointing, like movies made from a books.

  3. Oh that book creeped me out! I know it is fantasy yada yada, but the whole premise was creepy. Although I do agree it is a page turner. What will the movie be rated? Wondering how they will get a PG- if they do.

  4. Yes yes yes! Everyone was talking about it so I just had to read it and I loved it! haha, I couldn't put it down. I wish I could write like this author.
    I am excited for the movie but I wonder what it will be rated. With all of the killing and death in it I bet a lot of parents wont let their kids go and see it.

  5. Incredible post, Kerry. The pictures and the words - wow! How powerful. THose students are so lucky to have you on their side.

    Yes I did know that about punkers. I remember the 'straight edge' bands who were vegetarian, did not drink or do drugs and were so polite, it was kind of mind blowing. We are a complicated species.

  6. After my daughter other 20 somethings raved about it on FB and to my real face I finally ordered a Kindle copy. As soon as I finish Steve King's The Dome (which I got for free) I will start on this.

  7. Hmm, I've seen that around. Maybe I'll have to check it out. Is it like Battle Royale?

  8. such good books! I loved them. can't wait for the movie.

  9. Rebecca: the premise is very disturbing, and I both abhor and adore this book. Have your kids read it? What do they think?

    GG: The writing is very good, never striking a false note. I bet that they can produce a PG 13 film. There is no sex, and most violence could be off camera. Katniss is never a predator, and kills only out of self defense or, in the end, mercy.

    Reya, Thank you! My punk rocker buddy is a huge revelation to me. It's pretty funny.

    Tabor, I'm interested to hear your opinion on this book.

    Captain: Yes, in so far as it is about a ruling state subjugating others by demanding the sacrifice of their children. Media and fashion-hype play a big part.

    Alissa, woe unto me that I don't live closer. We could go together next March when the movie comes out. It better be good. They plan to make 4 films out of the 3 books.

  10. curse you kerry!!!!! i am fully addicted to this book. got it from the library yesterday and was up way too late, up way too early, in bed reading this morning until a combination of hungry cats and children ousted me from my covers and from between the burning pages of the book...

  11. Debbie! I warned you I warned you I warned you:) But your description is perfect: the pages are burning. I just gave the book to Jessica, who plans to start it this weekend (AFTER school work).


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