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Help a Mom: When do kids start reading 'The Hunger Games'

Posted December 10, 2013
Updated December 11, 2013

I'm the mom today asking this question: How old were your kids when they read The Hunger Games series? 

My third grade daughter, an advanced reader, has been asking me to read the hugely popular trilogy. Her friend of the same age has read all three books and seen the two movies released so far. I've told her no. I've read the books and, while I know she'd enjoy the story line, I feel like some of the content is a little too dark. 

Of course, I didn't have a problem with her reading the entire Harry Potter series, which she's devoured more than once. That certainly has plenty of dark themes. But The Hunger Games strikes me as a different series all together with lots of violence and romantic relationships.

I won't bend in my decision to have her hold off for a couple of years before she reads the series, but I'd love to find out when your kids read the books (and what other books they really enjoy).

Please share your experience in the comments box below. (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

Help a Mom features questions every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me.

14 Comments

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  • 123skipjack Dec 13, 2013

    My 2 year old read it, loved it.

  • stephlw Dec 11, 2013

    So thankful to see this thread and all of the parents who are holding back on the Hunger Games for their kids. I saw a 2nd grader walk out of the book fair with it and about had a fit. My 4th graders are asking to read it and I have told them no repeatedly. It is not a theme or concept that I want them to think about yet. We are sticking with Percy Jackson and mythology based series. Thank you to all who are waiting because it makes me not the only parent who is making my kid wait!

  • lori6 Dec 11, 2013

    My son read the Hunger Games in 6th grade; I think the themes were too dark for him to start any earlier. He enjoyed the first five Percy Jackson books, but hasn't liked the new series as much.

    Maybe the media specialist at your daughter's school can make some suggestions, based on her reading level and what's popular now. Also, the youth librarians at our public libraries are always very happy to make suggestions based on what has been enjoyed in the past.

  • thewayitis Dec 11, 2013

    My older son got the Hunger Games for his 12th birthday, which is when I told him he could read it. I've told the same thing to my younger son. FWIW, and for comparison, I allowed each of my boys to read the 4th Harry Potter book (and beyond) when they turned 10. I thought the 4th book was quite a bit darker than the previous 3 books, and that is why I held off. But Harry Potter is clearly fantasy, whereas a situation like in The Hunger Games could possibly happen in real life. The feel of reality in The Hunger Games is what I feel makes it a book for children who are a bit older.

  • agmail7 Dec 11, 2013

    I would not let her read them for several years. I have a daughter that used to read so much I couldn't keep up with what she was reading. When I finally read them I was appalled that she had read them at such a young age. Hold off, there are too many other books that she can read.

  • flicker Dec 11, 2013

    I didn't know Grisham wrote young adult books. I'll have to look into that.

  • flicker Dec 11, 2013

    I read all 3 books and find them very dark and oppressing. My daughter (now 8th grade) wanted to read them when everyone else was but I only this year said she could. My 6th grade son is not allowed to read them. I did let them both watch the movie but only after I previewed it. They both thought the storyline was really sad and my daughter really doesn't want to read the other books now or see the new movie. My daughter started reading the Hiassen books in probably 4th grade and she really enjoyed them. I think they would be fine for your daughter but you might want to preview it first.

  • mdcormier Dec 11, 2013

    Try Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce. I agree that it depends on the child, but my 7th grader is still not interested in reading the Hunger Games books.

  • shall6 Dec 11, 2013

    She loves John Grisham's books and is so so on Percy Jackson. She wants me to read it with her (so I'm trying to plow through the first one right now). I've heard of the Warrior series, @solomom, will need to check that out!

    I'm thinking about getting her a couple of Carl Hiaasen's young adult novels (Hoot, among others). Anybody have experience with those?

    Sarah

  • Solo Mom Dec 11, 2013

    I'm with you Sarah...I have an advanced reader and I struggle to find books "hard" enough for her, but still age appropriate. She LOVES the Warriors series' by Erin Hunter. She's read all the Harry Potter's as well, but no way on the Hunger Games!

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