“Rather than defining “inappropriate” as “books that deal with topics I find squicky,” I prefer to define “inappropriate” as “books that deal with their subject matter in a way that a particular reader can’t make sense of.” When I talk about whether or not a book is “inappropriate,” what I talk about is whether or not the book handles its subject matter – from sex and drugs to puppies and rainbows – in a way that its actual or intended audience can engage with.” ~ The Literary Cricket
I’ve been re-reading Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games series in preparation for the first movie, which comes out at the end of March. I’ve also been re-thinking about the challenge that put The Hunger Games on the ALA’s “Books Challenged and/or Banned in 2011” list: a complaint from a New Hampshire mother to the Goffstown School Board in 2010.
This particular mother’s problems with The Hunger Games were, according to the School Library Journal, that the book gave her eleven-year-old daughter nightmares and might numb other children to the effects of violence. “There is no lesson in this book except if you are a teenager and kill twenty-three other teenagers, you win the game and your family wins.” So says the school board’s minutes, anyway.
Whether or not one agrees that this is the only possible take-away point from The Hunger Games (spoiler: I don’t), there’s other interesting issues involved…
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