Hi everyone! I’m Jessica, a blogger who runs The Book Bratz with one of my good friends, Amber. Tanya was kind enough to have me here today to guest post about a popular banned book and why I feel that it shouldn’t be banned. I took awhile to make this decision, and I decided that the book I’m going to talk about today will be The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
A few libraries have banned this book for being violent, yes. But that isn’t what shocked me. For last year’s Banned Books Week we did a post on the blog talking about some of our favorite YA books and why they were considered banned and unsuitable. I was totally knocked out of my chair when I read about the number one reason that The Hunger Games has been banned from schools all over the world: religious viewpoint.
I’m sorry, what? The fact that none of the citizens of Panem are worshipping a god because their entire world is in shambles is a reason too ban the freaking book? But it gets better. Here’s the complete list of the reasons that The Hunger Games has been banned from schools:
*Occult/Satanic (This one is honestly my favorite.)
If you’re laughing hysterically at the ridiculousness of the previously mentioned list, you aren’t the only one. I read The Hunger Games back when I was in middle school, and while I had been a reader long before that, I can definitely confirm that this trilogy opened me up to the YA world. I read the back of the book before I started. I knew what I was getting into. For crying out loud, the freaking covers make it obvious that the reader isn’t about to enjoy a happy-go-lucky adventure frolicking in a meadow with no worries or cares.
I kind of want to meet whoever dubbed this book satanic and give them a good handshake for making my day with their ridiculously dumb accusations. People like that make my brain hurt. Not everything that isn’t peaches and cream is immediately the work of some demonic force.
Those accusations are actually so ridiculous that I can’t even conjure up a proper argument on them because they’re just that dumb. Satan didn’t write the books. Families got screwed up in the apocalypse. When bombs were raining down on people, they would tend to have a bit of a sailor’s mouth. Get over it. What I will speak on, however, is banning the book in regards to violence.
The Hunger Games became a huge series and then a huge movie series that captured readers all around the world. The book has some scenes with violence, but rightfully so. How else was Collins supposed to depict the post-apocalyptic world? The actual concept of the Games is the perfectly gruesome example of what people will turn to and participate in when they need help from a higher power. The stories themselves kept me up late at night, eager to know more. 9 out of 10 people that you pull aside on the street today will know at least something about the series. 5 of those 9 have probably seen one or more of the movies.
My point is, children cannot be sheltered forever. If they’re at an age where the type of violence the books portray is still a bit too graphic for them, then by all means, nobody is forcing them to read the book. If the book is unsuitable for children under the YA age, which it is and is marketed as such, then they don’t have to read it. As a matter of fact, if a parent chooses to have their child read the series prior to the Young Adult age, that is their judgement. If a parent chooses to wait until their child reaches the suitable Young Adult age, that is their decision as well. But once these children reach the Young Adult age there is no reason to shelter them. By this point, around ages 12-13, children have gotten a fair grip on life and learned that not every story has a perfect ending – in real life and in literary life. People die. Heartbreaks happen. Violence is a fact of life – not a good fact, but it will never truly go away. By the suitable YA age children have already discovered, with or without this book, that the world is not a utopia. So why shelter them further? Banning The Hunger Games is not only ridiculous, but unwarranted. It accomplishes nothing except forcing children to miss out on a valuable piece of literature . Because the message the book portrays – that what is viewed as good can be evil, and what is viewed as evil can be good, and that violence and chaos and hysteria are all real things – will be delivered in the real world either way. Banning a book that makes it all the more evident accomplishes nothing except delaying the knowledge at hand – but the knowledge will still be discovered in the end.
I hope that this post makes everyone think a little further before hopping on board the Book Banning train. Stories are an important part of life, and even if the actual novel can be forbidden, you can never forbid the story it tells – the story that resonates with what happens in everyday life.