Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games movie is coming out on March 23 and predictions say it is set to rival Harry Potter for opening weekend sales, but what does this mean to parents?

Angela has already posted that she feels strongly The Hunger Games is not a book for kids but it seems that, like-it-or-not, many kids will be lining up in droves to see it.  The movie is rated PG-13, but in an un-scientific survey I conducted on parents of 8-13 year olds, most parents said they had not read the book themselves and had NO idea what it was about, however, whether or not their child had read it, many were planning to see the movie anyway.

Since many kids will be viewing The Hunger Games, whether or not they are ready for the content, as a teacher, I think it is prudent to discuss some of the topics that they may have questions about after seeing the movie.

First, the Positive:  What can we learn or show are valuable qualities from The Hunger Games?

Survival skills (finding water, food, shelter, fire, being alert)
Staying calm and focused in stressful situations
Resourcefulness and independence
Strength and courage
Kindness and loyalty

Now, the Tougher Topics that some may be able to draw parallels with in your own lives, families or communities:

Mental illness
Classicism (rich vs. poor) and entitlement
Politics (freedom of speech, democracy, privacy, civil rights)
Substance abuse

And finally, the Most Difficult to Tackle topics that we really wish we didn’t need to, but that might cause distress for younger viewers/readers.

Good vs. Evil
Weapons and their use (offensive vs. defensive)
Psychological torture & control via fear
More politics (big brother, oppressive governments, dictatorships, rebellions and uprisings)
The Black market
Child soldiers

I obviously can’t tell any parent what to say on any of the above topics because it depends very much on your own perspective, your child’s level of maturity & your parenting style, but I believe being prepared for the questions that may come up. Reflecting on your own feelings about those topics in advance will help you answer them more thoughtfully.

If you aren’t planning to see the Hunger Games with your kids, please feel free to share this link with your friends who are.