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?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's good she's a reader! I read The Hobbit when I was in grade school, but that might be too much.

Karen Lange said...

What about the Anne of Green Gables series? My daughter read them from elementary school through high school. I know I still enjoy them today. :) Will let you know if I think of any more books. Have a great weekend! :)

Angie said...

I didn't know that. Of course, I haven't read The Hunger Games. I know just what you mean about finding books for the little smarty-pants to read. My 11 year old reads probably better than me! It can be a challenge to find appropriate books for him. Right now he's reading Star Wars novels.

L.G.Smith said...

Wow, I missed that. Having no knowledge of bread and circuses, it sailed right over my head. Love it when authors sneak stuff in like that, when I catch it. :))

Emily R. King said...

I missed that, too. Kids can be so insightful. She's obviously thought deeply about the hidden meanings. I love that in a girl!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - Thanks! She's read the Hobbit, and she'll probably read it again.

Karen - Thanks! I loved the Anne series too!

Angie - Thanks for the great idea! She craves adventure.

L.G. Smith - I know what you mean . . . I didn't catch it right away either.

Emily - I agree. Sometimes I think kids see things more clearly than adults. Thanks! I love her too!


nice post

Tyrean Martinson said...

Rajeev - Thanks!