Catching Fire: Why I Let My Kids Read and Watch The Hunger Games Trilogy

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Over the past few years I've been met with questions, odd glances, and outright disapproval when someone learns my children have been allowed to read The Hunger Games Trilogy, see The Hunger Games movie, and to plan to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in a few days. Many feel that the storyline of child being pitted against child to the death is horrific. And they are correct. It is horrific, unthinkable, disgusting, and wrong. And this is coming from me, a mom who has serious media discernment when it comes to my children.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Image: Lionsgate Publicity

When my daughter was in sixth grade she brought home The Hunger Games book, that came highly recommended by her teacher, a Christian lady I've known for years. She devoured the book and wanted me to read it. I'm always ready to get my teeth into a good book , especially one that my children are interested in, so I accepted the challenge and carved some time out of my busy schedule and started to read it. I was shocked at the premise of the children having to fight each other to the death as a source of entertainment for some truly demented adults in power. I couldn't believe her teacher had recommended it...to a sixth grader! But I continued reading. Then I went on to read Catching Fire and Mockingjay as they became available, and I will tell you why.

Catching Fire Katniss Prim
Murray Close/Lionsgate Publicity

The violence in the story is heartbreaking, so much so one almost can't stand to read it. If you can manage to see beyond and behind that part of the story, you can see what kept me reading. Katniss is a great role model for our tween and teens, especially girls. She's not rail thin and wrapped up in boys or how she looks. She's very strong, unbelievably brave, and loyal to her struggling family. She stepped up to care for her family in the absence of her father. She provided for them and protected them. She literally sent herself to an almost certain death sentence to spare the life of her younger, more vulnerable sister.

As part of a bigger picture, as the story progresses, we see that she is not willing to buckle to the evil of those in power. She is not afraid to stand up (and possibly die for) what is right and good. Society as a whole does not support The Hunger Games. They aren't afforded the choice of keeping their children safe from the reaping. They pray that their child won't be chosen and do what they can to survive between Games. It's those in power that rule with an evil iron fist, causing everyone in the Districts to live in mortal fear and have to fight a daily battle for survival.

Catching Fire PeetaKatniss
Lionsgate Publicity

Without spoiling it and giving away too much, stay tuned. Maybe then you will see that there's a larger picture to be seen where a young girl, courageous and bold, who has suffered the loss of her beloved father, forced to care for her family, and then facing death repeatedly and surviving, maintains dignity and morality and begins to help the citizens fight back against this inhumanity. I'd much rather Katniss Everdeen be the silver screen role model my children see than Bella Swan. No offense against the die hard Twilight fans but Bella is not someone I want my children looking up to. She's weak and hitched her star to a vampire 100 years older than she, was willing to give up her parents for this "boy," and admitted she'd rather die than be without him. Those are seriously unhealthy words to be uttered by anyone much less an impressionable 17-year-old. It's anything but romantic.

I'd rather have a strong girl, mature beyond her years, willing to help her fellow man (or child) even if they've been pitted against her to kill her, willing to sacrifice herself for her family, and battle against "the establishment" to restore goodness and light to their reality. And may the odds be ever in her favor.

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