Friday, March 2, 2012
The Hunger Games and History Lessons
Is it possible to link The Hunger Games trilogy with a history lesson?
We discovered this as my youngest was in the midst of reading the third book in the trilogy, Mockingjay. She was delighted to share with me her laughter over the name of the country where Katniss lived. Panem and Circenses, which means bread and circus. I smiled, and then I thought, wait, what? how did I miss that when I read it? Bread and Circuses. There's historical significance there, and it goes with our recent history lessons about Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire.
Julius Caesar rose to popularity with the people partly because he gave out bread, and supported the games at the coleseum. The Roman Empire continued to give the people appeasement through those same practices until it collapsed. For a more intellectual rundown of this, go see Wikipedia on Bread and Circuses.
Suzanne Collins cleverly intertwines historical significance in naming the nation in The Hunger Games trilogy Panem and Cirenses. I continue to be amazed by the detailed depths in her writing.
I'm also thankful that I homeschool my kids, because I don't think we would have caught that part otherwise. True, my youngest is rather young for reading The Hunger Games, but when she is capable of reading everything in the house, where do I draw the line and when? It's a blessing and a difficulty to have an avid ten year old reader. I am constantly challenged to find books for her that are "just for fun" books.
And to think I used to worry about my kids reading skills 5-6 years ago . . .things have changed.
So, do you know of any good books out there for ten year olds that can read at a high school to adult level?
And did you already know about the Bread and Circus history lesson in Mockingjay?