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March 28, 2012

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Camille Minichino

Thanks for the painless summary of The Hunger Games. I've been curious but not willing to pick it up!
Good point about parents who think Grimm too grim but embrace this newest dystopia.

penny warner

Thanks Camille.
It's baffling...

Staci

It's amazing how much the old fairy tales and such are getting changed nowadays. In my two-year-old's Mommy and Me class, we listen to There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, only instead of the teacher saying, "Perhaps she'll die," she says, "Perhaps she'll cry." At the end when the old lady eats the horse, instead of saying "She's dead, of course," the teacher says, "She's full, of course."
On a side note, did you enjoy The Hunger Games? I'm tempted to read it.

sharan newman

I was told by a young person I know well to read The Hunger Games. It is amazing. I haven't read the other two in the series but only because I don't have time. i'm getting them for my next long plane trip.

I read some of the Grimm tales in German. In Cinderella the stepsisters cut off their heel and toe to fit in the shoe and are discovered when the blood overflows. Personally, I think kids like to know that the wolves and witches are thoroughly punished. I only wish real villains could be taken care of, too.

penny warner

Hi Staci,
Truthfully, I would change the words for young children, but I loved the darker images when I got to elementary school. Sparked the imagination!
The Hunger Games book was compelling, for sure. Haven't seen the movie. Will probably wait for the video. And don't plan to read the other two books.

penny warner

Hi Sharan,
I have a feeling some of the stories are even DARKER than the ones we read! Maybe to make kids behave? And don't get me started on Nursery Rhymes....

Karen Olson

You clearly haven't been reading any YA books in the last few years. My daughter is 15, and she's been reading YA books since she was about 12. As with adult books, YA books run the gamut from romance to mystery to literary to fantasy to dystopian to sci fi...all the same genres that adults can read. But YA writers get away with a lot more than adult books do. THE HUNGER GAMES is a good example. Suzanne Collins wanted to show kids what war is like, so her kids are "at war" with each other and must kill each other. Dark? Absolutely, but this book also presents a world that isn't so unknown to us: There is the 99 percent and the 1 percent in this book, and it shows what can happen when the disparity between the classes widens. It also points out the dangers of reality TV, since the Hunger Games are televised for entertainment. Schools are teaching this book alongside Vonnegut and Orwell these days, and for good reason.

That said, you can find some remarkable YA written by such authors as John Green, who writes more literary but with incredibly serious themes.

Teens want to read this stuff. They are facing a difficult world; world economies are collapsing, there aren't enough jobs, the wealthy are very wealthy and the middle class is disappearing, just being a teenager is difficult. I admire the YA authors who challenge their readers to think about their lives and the lives of others.

Go to the YA section in your bookstore or library and see the variety of books that teens can read these days. There was no YA when I was a kid. I went straight from Little Woman to Harold Robbins. So which is worse? The Hunger Games or Harold Robbins for a 15 year old?

penny warner

Hi Karen,
Thanks for your comment. Actually, I've read a lot of YA and love the genre, including The Hunger Games. The piece was meant to be humorous as well as thought provoking, hence the reference to Tom Sawyer, a book that illustrates a difficult world, collapsing economy, and other challenging aspects of life. One of my favorite books of all time.
Best,
Penny

Michael A. Black

I haven't seen the Hunger Games or read the book, but I did write two books for young readers back in the day. Sadly, these books were meant to target reluctant male readers in high school and had to be written on the 4th and 5th grade reading level. One good thing about the recent YA books that have become so popular is that they're getting kids reading again. I enjoyed your piece, Penny, but I got to admit, I still remember crying during Old Yeller and kind of wish he would have lived forever in the movie.

June Shaw

What great comparisons! I've never read a series of YA's but found The Hunger Games books so compelling, I couldn't stop. Events were horrible but kept me turning pages.

penny warner

Thanks June. I couldn't put the book down either. Wish I could write a book like that!

penny warner

Hi Mike,
It takes a big man to admit he cried at Old Yeller...and a man with a stone heart if he didn't!
Would love to read your middle-grade mysteries sometime. -Penny

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1. Casey Stoner (Honda)

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I seriously am grateful for all the grueling effort that you've devoted to keeping this blog available for your followers. I seriously hope this stays around for a nice long while.

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