By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOKThe Hunger Games, the wildly popular young adult series by Suzanne Collins, has already topped nearly every book list out there, but this week it attained a new top spot: The trilogy is ranked #3 on The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom's list of most frequently challenged books for 2011. And with the new movie out, complaints against the series are only increasing - mostly from parents concerned about the effect of books based on the premise of children killing other children in a gladiator game/reality TV show mash-up.
Related: 25 Snacks Under 150 CaloriesBanning books seems to be the #1 way to ensure their popularity, so this may just be a savvy marketing move. Let's be honest, though, as a parent there are some legitimate concerns about the books-and I say that as a parent who has read all the books several times and loved them.
The first and foremost concern is the graphic violence. Since children being forced to murder other children is the whole point of the book, there is, well, quite a lot of creative killing. While some parents are comforted by the total lack of sex - no illicit vampire baby making scenes here! - teaching kids about this extreme level of violence is something that needs to be done with care and at the appropriate time. What's at play here, however, is also a larger political and social commentary that says some very interesting and difficult things about our society. It's one of the reasons I loved the books (and because Katniss is a seriously kick-butt heroine), but it's also not easily grasped by innocent minds when my children read The Hunger Games I want them to be able to see them as more than just entertainment.
Related: 17 5-Minute Marriage MakeoversI have a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old who have both been clamoring to see the movie and read the books and I'm refusing for now, although I do see them being allowed to at some point. I don't think that these books should be banned. What my kids read and see is my business and seeing as so far they're not required reading, complaints about them seem premature. Especially since, as the American Library Association noted, so many of the complaints filed have actually been about the movie, and they concern things like cinematography and casting choices. If we're going to be banning books based on the movies that are made of them I think we have much bigger problems than a girl who lights her dress on fire to make a political statement.
Should The Hunger Games be banned? Weigh in!
- Yes. How is children killing children entertainment at all?
- No, but I'm not allowing my kids to read/watch them at this point.
- No. I let my kids read/watch them and I'm glad I did.
More from REDBOOK:
5 Man-Magnet, Figure-Flattering, Show-Stopping Outfits
Sex Toys That Give the Best Buzz
- 75 Most Iconic Hairstyles of All Time
- Fun, Cheap Date Ideas
- 8 Tips for Baby-Soft Skin
Permissions: Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.