The school has assigned The Hunger Games as a literature reading assignment for my 11 year old. I read the books and enjoyed the ride, but feel the brutality is too much for this age group, in this package. The book is better suited to at least the middle-school classroom. While some eleven year old children may be able to handle this book, the RL for comprehension is not set to the age of the class to which the book is being assigned. The age listed as the age the book is aimed at is age 13+. A typical class of 11 year olds will have children in it that can comprehend at 13, but it will also have just as many kids who can only comprehend a book written at an RL of 9.
Let me clarify: I have no problem with violence as a theme in general and do not wish to hide my child from the concept/theme in literature, but I do have a problem with the brutality in combination with a book that is written for older kids being presented in a classroom setting.
I find this book inappropriate for this age group and feel it was really chosen for a "cool factor" rather than because it is appropriate and a well-thought out choice. The plan is for the kids to read the book and then watch the movie at the end of the unit in "celebration" of completing the unit.
My son didn't ask to read the book, it was assigned. He is already an avid reader and enjoys reading so engaging him with a book that has a lot of violence, and is above his reading level and he hasn't had an interest in simply because it is "cool" does not interest him or me. Now that it was assigned, he doesn't want to be singled out and I don't want to embarrass him either so what do I do about it?
I would have just added this as a comment, but there are already so many, I thought I'd add it here instead. This link will take the reader to a closely associated question about dealing with the same issue but where death is the concern within the book as opposed to violence.
I'd like to point out that some of the over-arching themes in the book are complex themes and much more "young adult" as well as political in nature than your average 11 year old will be prepared for. There is a big difference in maturity between 11 and even 13.